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.
Maybe it's just me but every time I need to climb into a piece of heavy equipment or haul truck I start singing James Brown's “Sex Machine” -- with my modified lyrics.
get on up
stay on the scene
get on up
like a construction machine.
Get on up
It reminds me to be safe when climbing on up into the operator compartment. Every piece of construction equipment should have hand grips and foot holds strategically placed to ensure you can 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. What you're after is maximum stability and support, reducing the likelihood of slips, trips, and falls.
Here's what every contractor can do for their workers:
• Look at every piece of equipment and truck with the Three Point Rule in mind.
• Add steps, non-slip surfaces, and hand holds where necessary.
• Make sure to keep steps, contact surfaces and handholds in useable condition. Inspect frequently.
• Train your crews on the safe way of climbing in to a machine and safely dismounting.
• Install warning decals or signs in the cab or on the door of trucks and heavy equipment reminding workers to use 3-point contact AND it displays a commitment to safety.
What the employee can do:
• Exit and enter facing the cab.
• 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 boots 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.
• Never Jump! You may land on an uneven surface, off balance or on something. Look before exiting.
Jumping down off large equipment is a common practice for construction workers. But here's the thing… when a person jumps from a height of more than one foot, the force that goes through the body is about 14 times the person's body weight. In other words, a 165-pound guy who jumps out of construction equipment or any other high surface is exerting 2,310 pounds of force on his body. This can cause injury to bones, tendons and cartilage. And if its done multiple times every workday, the damage to the body can be extensive.
So, it's OK to swagger like James Brown when walking up to your machine or walking away from it, but make sure to use the Three Point Rule when gettin' up or gettin' down.