Hand Signals for Agricultural Safety

Agricultural Tailgate Safety Training for Operators and Supervisors
AEX-591.9.5
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Date: 
05/29/2019
Agricultural Safety and Health Program

Objective: To know and use the correct hand signals when working under noisy conditions.

Trainer’s Note

There are 11 uniform hand signals adopted by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers for agricultural safety. To help everyone communicate in the same “language,” the 11 signals should be learned and used by the farm family, employees, and farm visitors. The signals should be demonstrated during the tailgate presentation and practiced by the employees. It may be a good idea to post the hand signals in a place where employees will see them, for example, in the coffee room or near a water fountain. This will allow employees to become familiar with the signals on a daily basis. Review the true or false quiz.

Background

Hand signals are an ideal communication tool when working around noisy farm machinery. Many times, the noise is so loud it is impossible to hear even if everyone is yelling. The hand signals provide a way to communicate the needed information effectively. These signals should be learned and used by the farm family, employees, and farm visitors such as feed truck drivers, chemical salespeople, and Extension educators.

Use the signals to:

  • save time
  • prevent incidents
  • reduce severity of injuries
  • lower the risk of death.

To help everyone communicate in the same “language,” the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) has adopted 11 uniform hand signals for agricultural safety. The following are the hand signals you should demonstrate to your employees during the tailgate safety training, and then have your employees practice the signals. Under each hand signal are detailed instructions for performing the signal. While you are demonstrating the hand signal, you may find it easier to have someone else discuss how to perform the signal.  

Come to Me Move Toward Me This Far to Go Stop
Arm above head and moving in a circular pattern Arms horizontal, beckoning, motion toward body Palms at ear level, facing head and motioning inward Arm motion for Stop
Raise the arm vertically overhead, palm to the front, and rotate in large horizontal circles. Point toward person(s), vehicle(s), unit(s); beckon by holding the arm horizontally to the front, palm up, and motioning toward the body.  Place palms at ear level, facing head, and move laterally inward to indicate remaining distance to go.  Raise the hand upward to the full extent of the arm, palm to the front. Hold that position until the signal is understood. 
Lower Equipment Raise Equipment Start Engine Stop Engine
Arm motion for Lower Equipment Arm motion for Raise Equipment Arm motion for Start Engine Arm motion for Stop Engine
Make circular motion with either hand pointing to the ground. Make circular motion with either hand at head level. Simulate cranking of vehicles by moving arm in circular motion at waist level.  Draw either hand, palm down across the neck in a “throat-cutting motion.”
Slow Down Speed Up Move out Hand Signals for Agricultural Safety
Arm motion for slow down Arm motion for Speed Up Arm motion for Move out
Extend the arm horizontally sideward, palm down, and wave arm downward 45 degree minimum several times, keeping the arm straight. Do not move arm above horizontal. Raise the hand to the shoulder, fist closed; thrust the fist upward to the full extent of the arm and back to the shoulder rapidly several times. Face the desired direction of movement; hold the arm extended to the rear; then swing it overhead and forward in the direction of desired movement until it is horizontal palm down.

Review the Following Points

  • Hand signals are an ideal communication tool for noisy situations.
  • There are 11 ASAE uniform agricultural hand signals.
  • Standard signals help save time and prevent injury.
  • Using hand signals could save a life.
  • Review each signal with employees.

About These Modules

The Ag Tailgate Training Series was developed by members of the Agricultural Safety and Health Program in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering. Revised by Dee Jepsen, State Agricultural Safety Leader, with editing assistance by Lisa Pfeifer and Cody McClain.

True or False Answer Key

  1. T
  2. F
  3. T
  4. T
  5. T
 

Quiz: Hand Signals for Agricultural Safety

 

Name______________________________________      

True or False?     

1. To signal to stop, one should raise their hand upward to the full extent of the arm, palm to the front. T F
2. Only the farm owner needs to know the hand signals. T F
3. There are 11 uniform ASABE hand signals. T F
4. Using the standard hand signals can save time and prevent injuries. T F
5. To indicate that the equipment needs to be lowered, make a circular motion with either hand pointing to the ground. T F