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3 Points of Contact

​This Tailgate Talk is part of the NLTAPA collection.

More than one third of all worksite fatalities are related to one single mishap, falls. Vehicles come with their own set of fall hazards, but they also come with ways to mitigate them. Using the provided hand and foot holds to maintain Three Points of Contact with the vehicle can

dramatically improve safety.

An insurance industry study showed that falls from vehicles produced injuries that were almost 25% worse than other types of injuries, but even the “minor” injuries can be a problem. A simple sprained ankle from jumping off a pickup truck can prevent you from working a brake

pedal. The biggest single cause of falls from a vehicle is driver error and failure to follow the Three Point rule.

What can you do to avoid falls?

No matter what type of access system your vehicle has available, use the Three Point system to significantly reduce the chance of a slip or fall. The Three Point system means three of your four limbs are in contact with the vehicle at all times - two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand. The Three Point system allows a person to have maximum stability and support, thereby reducing the likelihood of slipping and falling. Be a winner; use the Three Point system.


  • Wear shoes with good support -- not sandals, bare feet or high heels.

  • Exit and enter facing the cab.

  • Slow down and use extra caution in bad weather.

  • Get a firm grip on rails or handles with your hands.

  • Look for obstacles on the ground below before exiting.


  • Don’t climb down with something in your free hand. Put it on the vehicle floor and reach up for it when you get down on the ground.

  • Don’t rush to climb out after a long run. Descend slowly, to avoid straining a muscle.

  • Don’t ever jump out. You may land off balance or on an uneven surface, and fall.

  • Don’t use tires or wheel hubs as a step surface.

  • Don’t use the door frame or door edge as a handhold. Don’t become an injury statistic.

Resources and References:

OSHA Worker Fatality Statistic Webpage

OSHA Fall Prevention Training Guide

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