Most folks that run businesses requiring employees climb in and out of trucks or heavy equipment know the safe way to do so is by a 3-point contact. Simply put, 3-points of contact is defined as always having one foot and two hands or one hand and two feet in contact with a handle, ladder or piece of the equipment.
An Ohio ready-mix company performed a companywide analysis and found that with a fleet of 300 drivers, there were 24,000 potential mixer truck climbing accidents every day. This was based on 10 climbing movements for each of 6 daily loads plus another 20 times per day per driver for additional climbing movements. Now, a mixer operator may do more climbing in, off or around their vehicles than your employees but the number of potential accidents add up quickly.
Nationwide, falls account for about 15% of all workplace deaths and is second only to auto accidents. 70% off all falls from equipment occurred at the bottom step.
Keep these factors in mind to help prevent injuries from falls:
- Never forget the 3-point contact.
- Never jump off a ladder or from the last step.
- Always look at the ground before stepping down.
- Be extra careful during adverse weather conditions.
- Always mount or dismount facing the equipment.
- Ensure the vehicle is stationary with the parking break set.
- Inspect climbing surfaces for mud, ice, snow, grease or any other hazards.
- Never attempt to climb or descend with anything in your hands.
- Consider the use of warning decals or signs in the cab as a reminder of the 3-point contact.
Dan Cieslak is a Claims Services Consultant with Westfield Insurance located in Orlando, Florida. Dan brings over 37 years of multi-line claims experience having worked with several national carriers in various management positions. Dan received his B.A. degree in Business Administration from the University of Central Florida. He also has his Senior Claims Law Associate designation from the American Educational Institute.