Three Point Rule – Avoid Falling While Getting Into or Out of Heavy Equipment

Falling while getting into or out of truck cabs or heavy equipment or when mounting or dismounting truck bodies or trailers can cause serious injuries. Many knee, ankle and back injuries result from jumping from equipment onto uneven ground or objects.

3 points of contact requires 3 of 4 points of contact to be maintained with equipment at all times.

The biggest cause of falls from a vehicle is human error and failure to follow the “Three Point Rule”. The Three Point Rule requires three of four points of contact to be maintained with the vehicle at all times – two hands and one foot, or both feet and one hand. This system allows maximum stability and support, reducing the likelihood of falling.

There are important steps that can be taking to prevent mounting/dismounting injuries with use of the Three Point Rule being most important.

  • Avoid Dismounting the vehicle when in motion. Only dismount when it has come to a
     complete stop.
  • Avoid Jumping from the vehicle which can cause an unbalanced landing or a fall.
  • Avoid wearing loose clothing as it can catch on equipment

What The Employer Can Do

  • Evaluate every truck and piece of equipment.
  • Provide additional steps, non-slip surfaces and hand holds where necessary.
  • Maintain steps, contact surfaces and handholds in useable condition. Inspect frequently.
  • Instruct all workers in safely mounting and dismounting equipment, including the 3-point contact method.
  • Install warning decals or signs in the cab or on the door of trucks and heavy equipment reminding workers
    to use 3-point contact.

What The Employee Can Do

  • Keep steps, ladders and standing surfaces free of snow, mud and debris. Report damage immediately.
  • Don’t use tires or wheel hubs as a step surface.
  • Don’t use the doorframe or door edge as a handhold.
  • Wear footwear with good support and slip resistance.
  • Don’t climb down with something in your hand. Leave it on the vehicle floor and retrieve it after getting safely on the ground.
  • Don’t rush to climb out after a long shift.
  • Descend slowly to avoid straining a muscle.
  • Be extra careful when working in inclement weather.
  • Exit and enter facing the cab.
  • Get a firm grip on rails or handles.
  • Never jump! You may land on an uneven surface, off balance or on something. Look before exiting.

Most injuries resulting from falls aren’t caused by falls from overhead, as you might think. They are from falls at ground or floor level where we walk and work.