Use Three Points of Contact to Prevent Falls

If one is the loneliest number, three is the safest.

You’ve probably heard of the “three points of contact” rule to help prevent falls. But what is it, and how do you use it?

Three points of contact means you’re using two hands and one foot, or one hand and two feet, to support your body while mounting or dismounting a vehicle, stable platform or ladder.  The three points of contact should be broken only after your reach your destination (the ground, vehicle cab, stable platform, etc.).

Keep these tips in mind when using the “three points of contact” rule:

  • Dry your hands and wipe excess mud or snow off your boots for surer grips.
  • Face the vehicle, platform or ladder when you enter or exit.
  • Use the handrails when mounting a platform.
  • Keep your hands free. If you need to bring tools or materials up with you, place them in a tool belt or use a hoist line for larger items. If you’re climbing down from a vehicle, put the tool or other item on the floor and then grab it from the ground.
  • Don’t use a tire as a ladder — enter the vehicle way the manufacturer intended. And don’t reach for the steering wheel to pull yourself up.
  • Don’t jump off the machine onto the ground. Even if you don’t slip or fall, your joints won’t appreciate the impact.
  • Don’t try to enter a piece of equipment that’s moving.
  • Check for obstacles, debris or fluids on the ground before dismounting.
  • Don’t wear loose clothing or dangling jewelry that could catch on something.

Three points of contact sounds simple, and you probably already do it most of the time. But it’s that one time you don’t that can land you in trouble.