Are You Familiar with These Universal Hand Signals?

Oftentimes, forklifts operate in warehouses, manufacturing facilities, construction zones, and other workplaces that are loud and distracting. So it’s important that operators be familiar with the universal hand signals

So it’s important that operators be familiar with the universal hand signals so they can understand what their spotter or other workers on the ground are telling them.

Take a moment to review these hand signals — courtesy of the American Society of  Agricultural and Biological Engineers — so you can be assured of understanding your co-workers in loud and distracting environments:

Hand Signals



Start the Engine — Move the arm in a circle at waist level as though you were cranking an engine.




Hand Signals - Stop




Stop the Engine — Move your right arm across your neck from left to right in a “throat-cutting” motion.



Hand Signals - Come to Me



Come to Me (Can Also Mean “Help” in an Emergency — Raise arm vertically overhead, palm to the front, and rotate in large horizontal circles.




Hand Signals - Move Toward Me



Move Toward Me/Follow Me — Look toward the person or vehicle you want moved. Hold one hand in front of your, palm facing you, and move your forearm back and forth.




Hand Signals - Move Out

Move Out/Take Off — Face desired direction of movement. Extend arm straight out behind you, then swing it overhead and forward until it’s straight out in front of you with the palm down.



Hand Signals - Speed It Up



Speed It Up/Increase Speed — Raise hand to left shoulder, fist closed. Thrust fist upward to full extent of arm and back to shoulder rapidly several times.




Hand Signals - Slow It Down


Slow It Down/Decrease Speed — Extend arm horizontally at your side, palm down, and wave arm downward (45 degrees minimum) several times. Do’t move arm above horizontal.



Hand Signals - Raise the Equipment



Raise Equipment — Point upward with forefinger while making a circle at head level with your hand.




Hand Signals - Lower Equipment



Lower Equipment — Point toward the ground with forefinger of one hand while moving the hand in circular motion.






Hand Signals - This Far to Go



This Far to Go — Put hands in front of face, palms facing each other. Move hands together or farther apart to indicate how far to go.




Hand Signals - Stop II


Stop — Raise hand upward, arm fully extended, palm to the front. Hold that position until the signal is understood.



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