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Hand Signals for Forklift Operators

One in 10 will be injured in forklift accidents, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In addition, most fatal accidents involve forklift rollovers. Using our forklift safety training materials along with standardized hand signals for forklift operators to circumvent such accidents is crucial to workplace safety.

It’s also important that wherever forklifts are used that hand signal forklift posters are utilized in conjunction with all other forklift safety information and products to maximize protection, to improve knowledge and to enhance communication.

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Forklift Hand Signals - Hand Signals for Forklift Operators

The 7 Main OSHA-Approved Hand Signals for Forklift Operators

These are the most prominent forklift hand signals used today. Lift trucks and cranes use their own set of similar hand signals. Standardizing hand signals makes it easier to communicate with the various types of forklifts: electric and walkies, rough terrain, IC, narrow-aisle lift trucks, electric and manual pallet jacks.

Use just one signal person only per forklift operator. This keeps confusion at bay. A forklift operator moving several pallets cannot afford to divide attention between two or more signalers. You must stand so that the forklift operator can clearly see your hand signals and acknowledge that the signal has been seen and understood.

Forklift hand signals directly related to the tines (forks):

  • Move tines in direction index finger points (left or right)
  • Raise the tines
  • Lower the tines

Forklift hand signals directly related to the mast (the “upright” or load lifter):

  • Tilt mast back
  • Tilt mast forward

Emergency forklift hand signals:

  • Dog everything (this means pause immediately)
  • Stop (different than dog everything, stop means emergency stop)

IMPORTANT: You won’t be watching the forklift operator, you will be watching the load–and the forklift operator will be watching for your hand signals.

OSHA requires forklift retraining every 3 years. These topics must be covered. Forklift hand signal training should be reviewed as often as needed for your particular facility. As a reminder, Federal Law prohibits anyone under age 18 to operate a forklift.

We offer 2023 OSHA Compliant Training Kits. Call us today for the most comprehensive forklift safety training information, so we can help you keep your business operating at 100% OSHA compliance.

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Forklift Hand Signals Poster English PDF

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Forklift Hand Signals

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