Hand Signals on the Farm

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The 'Universal Language'

Perhaps you have experienced the shouting and hand-waving that seems to accompany many chores on the farm. Noise from working around farm machinery and/or distance between workers often leads to a communication breakdown. This can lead to hazardous situations on the farm. Whether backing up to a farm implement, navigating an oversized load or working with livestock, hand signals are an ideal communication tool.

Using hand signals provides a way to communicate the needed information effectively and safely.  The signals should be used by all the farm family, employees and farm visitors such as feed truck drivers, chemical salespeople and farm store delivery drivers.
Post the hand signals in an area where they will be seen on a daily basis.  This will allow everyone to become familiar with the standard signals.  The American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE) has adopted the following uniform hand signals for agricultural safety. These hand signals help everyone to communicate in the same ‘language’ which decreases the risk of injury.

Come To Me

Left Turn

Lower Equipment

MoveOut/Take Off

This Far To Go

Move Toward Me/Follow Me

Slow It Down

Speed It Up

Start The Engine

Raise Equipment


Right Turn

Stop the Engine

Hand Signals Display
Alberta Farm Safety has a hand signals display available for community groups, schools, etc. This tabletop display is a fun and interactive way to learn the standard hand signals. Please contact Raelyn Peterson at 780-538-5633 for more information or to book display.

Click on any of the following for more information and activities.

For more information about the content of this document, contact Kenda Lubeck.
This information published to the web on August 20, 2007.
Last Reviewed/Revised on April 28, 2016.