3 Point of Contact

Whether you’re exiting a vehicle, walking downstairs or climbing to the top of the ladder, maintaining 3 points of contact could save you from a nasty fall. Here are some simple safety rules that are worth revisiting and to go by in your day to day work.

When to use this technique:

When you are climbing, use at least three limbs (either two hands and one foot or one hand and two feet) should always be in contact with the equipment. The worker should be facing the equipment and take note that you cannot have three points of contact if you are jumping off or sliding out of the seat.

Below are some additional do’s and don’ts when exiting and entering trucks:

DO

  • Enter and exit facing the cab.
  • Mount and dismount only when stationary.
  • Look for obstacles on the ground before exiting the vehicle.
  • Break three-point contact only when you reach the ground, cab or platform.
  • Take extra care in wet, snowy or icy weather.
  • Avoid wearing loose or torn clothing that can catch on equipment.
  • Wear shoes with appropriate support and traction.

DON’T

  • Don’t ever jump off a truck — landing exerts 12 times your body weight on your joints.
  • Don’t carry items in your free hand .
  • Don’t use tires or wheel hubs as a step surface.
  • Never use the door frame or door edge as a handhold.

Similarly, when climbing a ladder or stairs, it is safest to use the three points of contact because it minimizes the chances of slipping and falling.  At all times during ascent, descent, and working, ensure you have two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand in contact with the ladder or side rails.

Follow these steps (excuse the pun) and you are less likely to become unstable in the event one limb slips during the climb.

DO

  • Maintain a 3-point contact when climbing/descending a ladder.
  • Face the ladder when climbing or descending.
  • Never carry tools in your hands while climbing up/down a ladder.
  • Keep ladders free of any slippery materials.

DON’T

  • Place a ladder on boxes, barrels, or unstable bases.
  • Use a ladder on soft ground or unstable footing.
  • Exceed the ladder’s maximum load rating.
  • Move or shift a ladder with a person or equipment on the ladder.
  • Lean out beyond the ladder’s side rails.
  • Use an extension ladder horizontally like a platform.

I know maintaining the 3 point contact rule slows things down a bit, but rushing is when accidents happen and hey, you get paid by the hour…win, win!