Safe Access: Three Point Contact Rule

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.

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 slipping and falling.

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



  • Evaluate trucks and pieces of equipment for safe access. Observe employees to ensure
  • Provide ladders or platforms for access during daily inspection and maintenance.
  • Inspect frequently steps, contact surfaces and handholds in useable condition.
  • Instruct all workers in safely mounting and dismounting equipment, including the 3-point
    contact method.
  • Include topic in toolbox talks and tailgate meetings reminding workers.



  • 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. Get a firm grip on rails or handles.
  • Wear footwear with good support and slip resistance.
  • Don’t climb down with something in your hand. Retrieve it after getting to 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. Clean mud & snow off your boots.
  • Exit and enter facing the cab. Never go down facing outward.
  • Never Jump! You may land on an uneven surface or atop something. Look before exiting.



  • Maintain three points of contact: two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand at all times.
  • Put both hands firmly on the rungs before stepping onto a ladder.
  • Break 3-point contact only when you reach the ground or a stable platform.
  • Always face the ladder when you’re climbing up and down.
  • Keep your body between the side rails. Don’t lean out on either side.
  • Make sure that the ladder extends at least 3 feet above the top landing.
  • There must be a clear space of at least 6 inches behind each rung.
  • Moving quickly results in only 2-point contact. You have to make a conscious effort to maintain 3-point contact.
  • Don’t carry tools, equipment, or material in your hands while climbing. Use a tool belt for small tools.


Best way to prevent falling while climbing onto trucks, equipment, & ladders is the 3-point contact system.

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