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Ladder Safety: 3 Point Contact

- April 5, 2013 by Terio Duran (View all posts by Terio)

One of the leading causes of death and serious injury on the job are falls from portable ladders. Whether you work in construction, manufacturing, or an office; falls from portable ladders can easily occur if you’re not maintaining a safe 3-point contact. 

The 3-point contact safety practice involves using two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand when ascending, descending, or working on a ladder.  Maintaining this type of contact will significantly minimize the chances of falling from your ladder. 

Additional safety steps you can take to help maintain your 3-point contact include:

  • Stay focused when ascending and descending ladders.
  • Ascend and descend without tools, materials or equipment in your hands.
  • Make sure the rungs on the ladder are free of oil, grease, or other slippery substances that could cause you to slip or lose your grip.
  • Use tool belts or material handling hoists to lift and lower tools, materials, and equipment.
  • Use a scissor lift or personal lift if you’ll be performing work tasks with both hands. 

Here is an example of the type of accident that can happen when you don’t follow the 3 Point Contact rule.


“OSHA Quick Card: Portable Ladder Safety.” osha.gov.  osha.gov, np.  Web.  17 Aug 2012. <http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_Hurricane_Facts/portable_ladder_qc.pdf>