On December 1, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced Interim Approval for the use of Automated Flagger Assistance Devices (AFADs) in temporary highway work zones.
A Laborer, Rick Heinz of Illinois LIUNA Local 477, deserves much of the credit. A flagger himself, Heinz not only recognized that it might be possible to reduce flagger injuries and deaths through a remote-operated mechanical device, he then went out and built one.
Both devices allow the flagger to operate the paddle at a distance from its location near on-coming traffic. This greatly reduces the possibility of flagger injury when drivers negligently crash into work zones. Such crashes are among the common causes of death for Laborers.