The Three Point Rule
Falling while getting into or out of heavy equipment, a truck or tractor cab, mounting and dismounting trailers, or while ascending or descending a ladder, is always a way to get seriously hurt. Improper ladder use accounts for one out of every four injuries to people who use ladders, drive trucks or operate equipment as part of their normal job duties. Even an ankle sprain can play havoc with your ability to perform your job safely and effectively. Minor injuries can cost you big in terms of lost income and downtime. The biggest single cause of falls from a vehicle or ladder is failure to follow the THREE POINT RULE.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO AVOID FALLS?
No matter what type of access your vehicle has or what type of ladder you use, use the THREE POINT rule to significantly reduce the chance of a slip or fall. The THREE POINT rule means three of your four limbs are in contact with the vehicle or ladder at all times — two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand.
The THREE POINT rule allows a person to have maximum stability and support, thereby reducing the likelihood of slipping and falling. Be a winner; use the THREE POINT rule.
- Evaluate every ladder, truck and piece of equipment. Make sure steps, contact surfaces and handholds are in useable condition
- Use the points of contact designed by the manufacturer to mount and dismount – steps, running boards, traction strips, footholds, hand grips, etc
- Keep steps, ladders and standing surfaces free of snow, mud and debris; report any damage immediately so the item can be repaired or replaced as needed
- Always face the cab when entering or exiting equipment
- Always face ladders while climbing or descending
- Wear footwear with good support and slip resistance
- Be extra careful when working in inclement weather
- Get a firm grip on rails and handles with your hands
- Carry tools or parts in your tool bags, or use a bucket that can be pulled up with rope once you are in place
- Look for obstacles on the ground before exiting equipment
- Climb into or out of the cab with something in your hand; leave it on the vehicle floor and retrieve it after getting safely on the ground
- Use the doorframe or door edge as a handhold
- Use tires or wheel hubs as a step surface rush to climb out after a long run; Descend slowly, to avoid straining a muscle
- Hurry or skip rungs/steps
- Jump out of equipment or off of a ladder; you may land off balance or on an uneven surface, and fall
- Carry parts or tools in your hands while ascending or descending ladders
- Let your belt buckle pass beyond either ladder side rail
- Grab the top rail of a scissor lift basket and swing out onto the ground
Don’t become an injury statistic! Always use the THREE POINT rule when climbing or descending ladders, trucks and equipment.