Safety Matters: Maintaining Three-Point Contact

The best way to prevent falling while getting into or out of a truck or other construction equipment is to follow the three-point contact system. 

Mounting or dismounting a large truck or piece of equipment without hurting yourself seems simple enough, but many accidents involve this type of injury. 

The Three-Point Contact System 

Three-point contact is exactly that: three of your four limbs are in contact with the equipment at all times. No matter what type of access system is available on your vehicle or equipment, the three-point system significantly reduces the chances of slipping or falling by providing the ability to maintain maximum stability and support when you enter or exit equipment. The three points form a triangle, distributing your body's weight at the center. 

Remember, the only person who can prevent a fall is you. Here are some simple do's and don'ts to follow when entering or exiting a large vehicle or other construction equipment: 

Do's

  • Always exit and enter your vehicle facing the cab. 
  • Slow down and use extra caution in bad weather. 
  • Get a firm grip on rails or handles with your hands. 
  • Use parts designed by the manufacturer for mounting and dismounting. This includes steps, running boards, traction strips, footholds, handgrips, etc. 
  • Look below for obstacles on the ground before exiting. 
  • Wear safe, non-slip shoes with good support. 
  • Clean your shoes off; mud, grease, and oil can cause you to slip. 
  • Inspect handholds and ladders/rungs to ensure they are in good condition. 
  • Only climb on and off when equipment is stationary. 

Don'ts 

  • Never carry anything with your free hand when mounting or dismounting. Put the object on the vehicle floor and reach up for it when you get down on the ground. 
  • Don't rush to climb out of your vehicle or machinery after a long period of sitting. Climb down slowly to avoid straining a muscle or losing your balance. 
  • Never jump out of construction equipment or vehicles. You may land off balance or on an uneven surface and fall. 
  • Don't use tires, wheel hubs or machine tracks as a step surface. 
  • Do not use door frames, door edges, or door handles as a handhold. 

Want to share these safety tips with your staff? Click here to download the PDF. 

SafetyAmanda S