3-Point Contact - Machinery

Climbing in and out of machine cabs can put operators at risk for should, back, and ribcage injuries. Falls occur when performing this routine task because feet give way or slip. Terrain is rough and machine steps can become damaged or fall into disrepair.

The tree-point technique is a simple and effective way to minimize the risk of falling. Use this technique if you are entering the cab of a forklift, climbing onto the bed of a truck, or climbing into/onto any other piece of equipment. When you are climbing, at least three limbs should always be in contact with the equipment. This could be two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand. Of course, to use this technique the climber must be facing the equipment. You cannot have three points of contacting if you are jumping off or sliding out of the seat. Review these three-point contact safety tips!


  • Wear shoes with good support & appropriate to the job.
  • 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 before exiting.


  • 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.
  • Don’t ever jump out. You may land off balance or on an uneven surface, and fall.
  • Use tires or wheel hubs as a step surface.
  • Use the door frame or door edge as a handhold.
  • Become an injury statistic.

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