Monday, November 5, 2012

Entering & Exiting a Vehicle: The Importance of the Three Points of Contact Rule

When do you think a driver is at greatest risk of being injured? The answer to this question might surprise you. Most people would think that a motor vehicle accident would be the biggest hazard for drivers, but research shows that most drivers are at the greatest risk when they are entering or exiting the cab of the vehicle or piece of equipment they are operating.

Who would think that so many injuries would take place as a result of an employee simply entering or exiting a vehicle or piece of equipment? Well, the numbers might surprise you! From 2002 to 2007, the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance trust recorded 73 public works claims related to employees getting in or out of a vehicle. This amounted to almost $2 million in loss costs with an average cost per claim of $27,000!

When entering or exiting the cab of a truck or a piece of equipment, drivers need to use “Three Points of Contact.” This means that a driver who is entering or exiting a truck needs to have three of their limbs in contact with the truck or ground at all times. Essentially, the driver must have two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand in contact with the steps, rails, handles or ground at all times.





There are other important steps that can be taken to prevent mounting/dismounting injuries with use of the Three Points of Contact Rule being most important. 

The following are some driver do’s and don’ts for injury prevention:

DO:

-Keep steps and standing surfaces free of snow, mud, and debris.

-Wear shoes with good support and tread.

-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 exiting.

DON'T:

-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.

-Never jump! You may land off balance, on an uneven surface, or fall.

-Don't use tires or wheel hubs as a step surface.

-Don't use the doorframe or door edge as a handhold.

-Don't get complacent and become an injury statistic!

Do your employees know about the Three Points of Contact Rule? Train staff on this rule and demonstrate by mounting and dismounting from a truck or other piece of heavy equipment—and ask your crew to try out the Three Points of Contact as well!

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