Use simple 3-points-of-contact rule to prevent nasty falls

20th March 2017

Falls, slips and trips account for over a third of all UK workplace injuries, with forklift truck operators and warehouse staff ranking highly among them. In fact, every year, falls from stationary and moving lift trucks seriously injure – or worse – approximately 40 workers in the UK.

Encourage your operators and those responsible for site safety to take care when mounting and dismounting lift trucks by following one simple rule: keep three-points-of-contact.

It's a basic fundamental of forklift operator training that simply states: when getting on or off a truck, you should maintain three points of contact until you are either in your seat or standing firmly on the ground. This means one hand and two feet or two hands and one foot at all times, and it will go a long way towards helping limit the risk of injury.

Best practice for mounting and dismounting a forklift truck is as follows:

  • Mount/dismount only when the truck is stationary
  • Face the truck
  • Use the handgrips and steps provided
  • Look all around for hazards
  • Get on and off the truck under control and one foot at a time
  • Do not jump
  • Take extra care in rain, snow, or icy conditions

It’s best practice for good reason…

Not only does dismounting incorrectly put you at risk of a slip or fall, the consequences could be far more serious. Jumping to the ground is likely to put more distance between you and your lift truck and do so far quicker than simply stepping down, and could put you suddenly and unexpectedly in the path of another vehicle.

By facing the truck to mount and dismount and maintaining three-points-of-contact, you can better protect yourself, should you end up in harm’s way. With at least one hand and foot on the truck at all times, you will be able to pull yourself into the cab of the truck and out of danger should a passing vehicle or obstruction come too close.

It might sound like common sense, but when you see the number of injuries caused by slips and falls then it’s worth reminding your forklift operators. It’s simple and easy to apply so if users bear it in mind when working, hopefully, we’ll start to see a reduction in falls from forklifts.

To grab a free copy of our 3 points of contact poster, as a reminder for operators on your site, click here.

For more guidance on key forklift safety principles, please contact us.


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