Hand Signal Cards
These hand signal cards for operators are easy to use with high-quality images of important hand signals for mobile cranes, telehandlers, forklifts, and more! They fit nicely in your wallet or pocket and provide the crucial information you need while on a job site. Order 10 for $10.00 or save by ordering 25 for $20.00.
Forklift Hand Signals That You Need To Know
Forklift Hand Signals
Hand signals allow the operators to communicate with spotters while moving heavy loads. The seven standardized OSHA forklift hand signals are used by most companies.
The forklift's tines, mast, and brakes are the target for these hand signals, which all relate to the forklift's essential parts. Operators will only listen to directions from spotters, although anyone on the job site has the authority to signal an emergency stop. These seven hand signals are as follows:
#1 - Lower the Tines
When it's time to lower a load, the lower tines signal is employed. This signal is executed by having one arm straight out from your body and pushing down with an open hand.
#2 - Raise the Tines
The raise the tines signal is utilized to let the operator know when they need to lift the load. This signal is portrayed by pointing your index finger up and drawing a circle in the air continuously.
#3 - Move the Tines
This signal tells the operator to adjust their tines either left or right. To communicate this signal, all you have to do is point straight out from your body horizontally with either your left or right hand depending on the direction the operator needs to adjust those tines.
#4 - Tilt Mast Back
The mast back motion signals that the operator needs to angle the end of the mast higher off the ground. To use this signal you will need to put one arm straight out from your body horizontally and make a thumbs-up motion.
#5 - Tilt Mast Forward
Spotters use this signal when operators need to angle the end of their mast lower to the floor. This signal can be made by putting one arm straight out from your body horizontally and making a thumbs-down motion.
#6 - Dog Everything
This signal is used when an unexpected safety hazard appears but has not yet caused any harm. When used, this signal tells the operator to pause everything and stop moving until the pathway is cleared. To perform this signal you must keep your hands flat and cross your thumbs together in front of your body.
#7 - Emergency Stop
This is the only signal that anyone in the workplace can give. An emergency response can be called when there is imminent danger or after an accident occurs. This signal immediately stops all operations until the emergency is dealt with. For this one both arms must be used creating one horizontal line outwards from your body.
Why Should I Use Proper Hand Signals?
As stated previously, forklift hand signals are helpful for instructing forklift drivers while they transfer and move cargo on a forklift. A spotter using these hand signals can make sure the operator can complete their task promptly, safely, and efficiently. Take this case study as an example:
Hector was working as a spotter for a fellow employee who was operating a forklift. The forklift held an I-beam. While Hector was spotting the operator, he noticed that the load looked unbalanced and slowly began sliding off the tines. Hector began yelling at the operator to tilt the tines upward to prevent the load from falling. The operator could not hear Hector because the site they were working at had many other machines and operations running that were very loud. The load kept tilting and caused the forklift to tilt over. The operator tried to jump out as it fell over and was crushed by the forklift. Emergency services were called but when they arrived the operator was already dead.
Had Hector known and understood how to use hand signals to communicate with the operator this unfortunate accident could have been prevented.
Other Common Safety Hand Signals
Most industry regulations are met by the seven OSHA forklift hand signals as listed above. Spotters can communicate with operators by using additional forklift signals that aren't on this list, though. These signals enable more accurate communication even though not all teams can recognize them. They can also aid in preventing hazards and accidents.
Raise or Lower Slowly
These signals instruct operators to change the height of their forks, much like raising and lowering the tines. However, it encourages slower. The motions are the same as the raise and lower signals, the only difference is you hold an open palm above (for raise slowly) or below (for lower slowly) the motion.
Move Forward or Back
These signals instruct the operator whether to continue moving forward or to back up. You can perform this signal by placing one hand with the palm facing outwards straight in front of your body. You will then use your other hand by:
- Pushing towards your outstretched hand, to move forward
- Pulling your hand, with the palm towards your face, to back up.
This Far to Go
This signal is used by spotters to indicate how far the operators still have to travel. This signal involves estimating the distance and showing it by how close or far you place your hands together. The distance between your hands indicates how far the forklift still needs to move.
Honk the Horn
Operators use the horn to warn other drivers of bends, intersections, blind areas, other vehicles, or pedestrians in order to avoid an accident. Operators use the horn for others' safety, as opposed to hand signals from spotters. When a forklift's horn is heard, everyone working nearby should proceed with caution.
What Does OSHA Say About Forklift Hand Signals?
OSHA has established a number of forklift-related regulations, including those for general design and construction, checklists for forklift inspections, and hand signals for forklift operators and spotters.
OSHA requires that all employees who will be working with or around forklifts at work are properly trained and understand how to use hand signals when spotting for a forklift operator.
By creating these hand signals, OSHA has developed a common "language" that is used by operators and spotters across the country. These signal standards help ensure that a new employee can step onto a job site and immediately nonverbally communicate with a spotter. For more information check out our forklift training courses.
What Do We Offer For Forklift Hand Signals?
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These hand signal cards for operators are easy to use with high-quality images of important hand signals for mobile cranes, telehandlers, forklifts, and more!
Hand Signal Forklifts Cards
Our cards fit nicely in your wallet or pocket and provide the crucial information you need while on a job site. Order 10 for $10.00 or save by ordering 25 for $20.00. We are happy to customize these cards to suit your specific needs including your own company's logo, other types of equipment, and more! Contact us for custom printing today!
For more information check out our related articles When should you sound your horn on a forklift?, Does OSHA Require Spotters for Forklifts?, What determines the appropriate speed of a powered industrial truck?, and Forklift Pedestrian Safety.