3 Point Contact – Ladders

Climbing a ladder is not as easy as it sounds. Many workers have been injured getting on or off a ladder. Workers have died from falls after losing their balance.

To use ladders safely, always maintain three points of contact. That means two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand on the ladder at all times.

  • Put both hands firmly on the rungs before stepping onto a ladder.
  • Break 3-point contact only when you reach the ground or a stable platform.
  • Always face the ladder when you’re climbing up and down.
  • Keep your body between the side rails. Don’t lean out on either side.
  • Make sure that ladders extend at least 900 millimeters (90 centimeters or 3 feet) above the top landing.
  • There must be a clear space of at least 150 millimeters (6 inches) behind each rung.
  • Moving quickly often results in only 2-point contact. You often have to make a conscious effort to maintain 3-point contact.
  • Don’t carry tools, equipment, or material in your hands while climbing. Use a hoist line or gin wheel for lifting and lowering.
  • Clean mud, snow, and other slippery substances off your boots before climbing.