Ladders – Three Point Contact Safety

Ladders – Three Point Contact


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 the ladder extends at least 3 feet above the top landing.
  • There must be a clear space of at least 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 tool belt for small tools and a hoist line or gin wheel for lifting and lowering larger items.
  • Clean mud, snow, and other slippery substances off your boots before climbing.


Toolbox talk based on NMGC submitted by Tyler Quinn – P66 Bayway