Califonia Bountiful

Now from Nationwide: Ladder safety

September/October 2019 California Bountiful magazine

Three-point contact rule helps reduce slips and falls

Climbing ladders is a routine part of the job for many people, yet workers often suffer injuries when they ascend or descend improperly. Anyone who has ever suffered an injury by falling from a ladder, slipping off equipment or jumping out of a truck can tell you it doesn't require much height to get hurt.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 50% of all ladder-related accidents were due to individuals carrying items as they climbed. However, if you maintain three points of contact while you climb, you can limit your exposure to slips and falls.

The three points of contact rule is simple: Always maintain one hand and two feet, or two hands and one foot, when climbing or descending ladders, trucks and equipment.

When climbing a ladder, you should have both hands free and face the ladder. This allows for three points of contact with the ladder at all times and helps reduce the chances of falling.

Position the ladder so it is:

  • Not blocking any paths, exits or doors;
  • On level, solid footing;
  • Against a stable structure;
  • Set up at a 4:1 angle (the base is 1 foot from the wall for every 4 feet the ladder rises);
  • Extended at least 3 feet above the surface to be accessed; and
  • Secured at the top and bottom.

When using a ladder:

  • Don't let your belt buckle pass beyond either ladder side rail;
  • Hold your ladder with one hand while working with the other; and
  • Don't hurry or skip rungs.

When mounting or dismounting a vehicle or piece of equipment:

  • Mount or dismount stationary equipment only;
  • Firmly grasp the points of contact with both hands, while facing the vehicle or equipment;
  • Use the points of contact designed by the manufacturer to mount and dismount, such as steps, running boards, traction strips, footholds and hand grips;
  • Don't use wheel hubs, machine tracks or door handles for mounting and dismounting; and
  • Break three-point contact only when you reach the ground, the cab or a stable platform.
Article contributed by Nationwide, which is endorsed by the California Farm Bureau Federation. To learn more, visit¬† Products underwritten by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Affiliated Companies. Subject to underwriting guidelines, review, and approval. Products and discounts not available to all persons in all states. Nationwide, the Nationwide N and Eagle, and Nationwide is on your side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2018 Nationwide.¬†

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