Agricultural Hand Signals

The American Society of Agricultural Engineers has developed standardized hand signals because communication on the farm often cannot be accomplished vocally due to noise or distance.
Agricultural Hand Signals - Articles

Updated: August 8, 2017

Agricultural Hand Signals

These hand signals were developed to provide an easy means of communication, particularly in the interest of safety. Often times a farmer may only have the use of one arm. All but one of the hand signals require only one arm. For this reason, the standardized hand signals are very effective if one arm is incapacitated by machinery or used for grasping. Hand signals can save time and prevent mistakes. Use hand signals and teach them to others. Help make farming a safer occupation. You may also view videos on the Use of Hand Signals in Production Agriculture.

Figure 1 - THIS FAR TO GO. Place palms at ear level facing head and move laterally inward to indicate remaining distance to go.
Figure 2 - COME TO ME. Raise the arm vertically overhead, palm to the front, and rotate in large horizontal circles.
Figure 3 - MOVE TOWARD ME-FOLLOW ME. Point toward person(s), vehicles(s), unit(s), beckon by holding the arm horizontally to the front, palm up, and motioning toward the body.

Figure 4 - MOVE OUT-TAKE OFF. Face the desired direction of movement; hold the arm extended to the rear; then swing it overhead and foward in the direction of desired movement until it is horizontal, palm down.
Figure 5 - STOP. Raise hand upward to the full extent of the arm, palm to the front. Hold that position until the signal is understood.
Figure 6 - SPEED IT UP-INCREASE SPEED. 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.

Figure 7 - SLOW IT DOWN -DECREASE SPEED. Extend the arm horizontally sideward, palm down, and wave arm downward 45 degree minimum several times keepign the arm straight. Do not move arm above horizontal.
Figure 8 - START THE ENGINE. Simulate cranking of vehicles by moving arm in a circular motion at waist level.
Figure 9 - STOP THE ENGINE. Draw right hand, palm down, across the neck in a "throat cutting" motion from left to right.

Figure 10 - LOWER EQUIPMENT. Make circular motion with either hand pointing to the ground.
Figure 11 - RAISE EQUIPMENT. Make circular motion with either hand at head level.

Prepared by Steven R. Johnson, Graduate Assistant and Dennis J. Murphy, Professor, Agricultural and Biological Engineering


Agricultural Safety and Health

More by Dennis Murphy, Ph.D.