Flares can be invaluable for warning motorists of vehicles stalled on the road. However, flares
can present serious hazards when used on the job. Workers can easily steer clear of these risks
with caution, a minimal amount of training, and common sense.
• The number one hazard for workers who use flares is burning themselves, especially when
igniting the flares. To protect themselves, workers should point the flares away from their faces
and bodies. Workers should also hold flares away from their bodies when walking with them. If
available, put the legs of the flares down and completely set them up before lighting them.
• Another basic rule is to keep flares away from ignitable materials. Don’t use flares near leaking
fuel or dry brush. After arriving at a traffic incident, the worker should survey the scene to
determine whether the conditions are safe for using flares.
• Flares can be a road hazard because traffic or pedestrians could knock them over. Therefore,
use extreme caution when placing flares. Don’t use them in large crowds, especially when
children are around.
• Flares should be placed on the edge of the lane in which there is a problem rather than in the
middle of the road. Place them at the beginning of the lane, then at intervals of 10 to 15 feet, so
that traffic gradually moves around the incident. Workers must be careful when using flares
around corners or on hills to warn motorists. Put a blare far enough down on the hill so that
motorists know about the hazard before they get to the hill’s crest.
• If flares are still burning after the accident has been cleared, the best option, if there is enough
time, is to let them burn out by themselves. Otherwise, look for dry sand or dirt on the side of the
road and snuff out the flare. Make certain they’re out and be sure that no unspent sulfur is let in
• It’s important to store flares correctly so that they’re in good condition when you need them.
They must be kept dry, because if the paper gets wet and the seal opens, the sulfur will leak out.
Keep them in a dry, secure place in the vehicle. Keep them away from fuel and from anything
that’s ignitable in any way. When transporting hazardous materials, reflective triangles are
True or False Points:
1 The number one hazard for workers who use flares is burning themselves,
especially when igniting the flares. – T
2 Keep flares away from ignitable materials. – T
3 Flares can be a road hazard because traffic or pedestrians could knock them over. – T
4 Flares should be placed on the edge of the lane in which there is a problem
rather than in the middle of the road. – T
5 If flares are still burning after the accident has been cleared, the best option, – T
if there is enough time, is to let them burn out by themselves. – T
* Don’t Make the Safety Warning a Hazard *