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Heavy Equipment Safety: Three Points of Contact

Why is having three points of contact so important for heavy equipment safety? The most common accidents on worksites are from stupid things that just happen. People slip on stairs, people trip getting out of vehicles. People fall out of vehicles. While nine times out of ten, this will hurt nothing more than a person’s ego, sometimes people are seriously injured. Sometimes the injuries are enough to keep them out of work for a long period of time or even permanently. Maintaining three points of contact minimizes the likelihood of one of the most avoidable types of heavy equipment accident.

I once read a story of a particularly ruthless safety inspector. It was a long time ago, so I forget exactly how it went, but I remember most of the details. This particular safety inspector was on an oil rig, when a reporter came to visit her. One of the rig workers brought two steaming cups of freshly brewed coffee for the safety inspector and the reporter.
The safety inspector promptly responded, “You were holding two cups of coffee, how did you hold onto the handrail.”

While this might seem ungrateful on the part of the safety inspector, she was absolutely right for doing so. There are plenty of construction safety inspectors that would have said the same and some would not have been so polite. Three points of contact is of the utmost importance to heavy equipment safety.

The three points of contact rule is that you must maintain three points of contact when entering or exiting the vehicle. A point of contact is generally a hand or foot. Two points of contact, which is all that most people think that they need; places people at risk of losing balance. It is a rule not just in heavy equipment safety, but in many other professions as you can see from the story above.

Do you have any heavy equipment safety stories? Please feel free to drop them in the comment box, we would love to hear them and might even incorporate them in a future article. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us at Associated Training Services.

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