SLOW SLOW 2 | TAILGATE TALK T A I L G A T E T A L K TAILGATE TALK | 3 Communication is the action of transferring information from one point to another and is important in all aspects of work. In a workplace setting, good communication builds stronger relationships, increases productivity, and boosts morale. At Flagger Force, effective communication keeps our work zones safe and our communities moving. In pursuit of an efficient performance while on the job, trained Crew Members must learn proper nonverbal communication skills and how to use them in order to best communicate with other Crew Members and the traveling public. In your initial Crew Member training, you have learned basic nonverbal flagging signals that will help maximize communication between you and the motorists traveling through your work zone. Nonverbal communication, such as hand signals, does more than improve communication; it also reduces the risk of injury and creates an instant response between the flagger and the driver, which is crucial in safe traffic control. Flagger Force uses hand signals while flagging to complement and aid the directions of the sign paddles. Using both the sign paddles and nonverbal flagging signals helps to clearly deliver the message being communicated from the Crew Member to the motorist. It also fosters a safer work environment, because it creates a conversation between the field employee and the motorist that keeps the motorist more aware of what is happening in the work zone they’re approaching. Here are some of the basic hand signals used to communicate to the traveling public. Not only are nonverbal hand signals helpful when communicating with the traveling public, they also come in handy when communicating with your crew while on job site. For example, Flagger Force crews must use proper nonverbal communication in order to safely navigate a vehicle. The purpose of this is to not only improve communication, but to also eliminate driver blind spots, reducing the risk of injury to the Crew Leader driving the truck and any possible damages to the vehicle itself from obstructions that can’t be seen by the driver. It’s important to remember to use a spotter when backing up, parking, or in other situations that lack visibility. Here are some examples of vehicle signals to better prepare you for your next job. Flagging Signals Nonverbal Communication Vehicle Signals BACK UP Extend both arms out in front of your body and bend arms toward your chest. Doing this in a consistent, slow fashion will help the driver understand what to do while keeping him at a reduced, steady speed. LEFT Point left with your left arm fully extended, and wave your right hand over your shoulder toward the left. Pointing in the direction you want the driver to go while motioning in that direction helps to clear up any confusion. STOP Cross both arms above the head. This is a universal sign to “stop,” and doing so overhead ensures visibility. EMERGENCY STOP Cross both hands overhead and wave downward repeatedly. The rapid motion and repetitive signal signifies an emergency. RIGHT Similar to the “left” hand signal, point right with your right arm fully extended, and wave your left hand over your shoulder toward the right. STOP Extend your left arm (free hand used for communication) and hold hand out—palm up and facing traffic. This is a universal sign for “stop.” GO Extend your left arm (free hand used for communication) out to the side and wave it in toward the front of your body. Doing so in a fluid, consistent motion signals to the driver that it is safe to move forward. SLOW DOWN Extend left arm (free hand used for communication) and make a pushing motion toward the ground. This motion signals to the driver to move forward but cautions them to watch their speed.