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Climbing Ladders Safely - Three Points of Controls

Not Maintaining three points of contact when climbing ladders can lead to injuries.

Three points of contact is defined as always having one foot and two hands, or one hand and two feet in contact with the ladder at all times.

While maintaining three points of contact is important, maintaining three points of control is critical.

Three points of control involves a worker using three of their four limbs for reliable, stable support while climbing a ladder.

Workers climbing a ladder with a tool in their hands can maintain contact with the ladder but not a firm grip (control) on the ladder rung.

Communicate and practice three-point control.

It provides for a greater level of safety when climbing ladders.


Other ladder-related best practices include:

  • Inspecting the ladder prior to climbing.
  • Facing the ladder at all times.
  • Hoisting tools rather than carrying them.
  • Keeping the belt buckle between the rails of the ladder.

Source: Joe Mlynek is president of Progressive Safety Services LLC, Gates Mills, OH:, and content creation expert for Safety Made Simple Inc., Olathe, KS;

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Safety Tip of the Week is edited by Managing Editor Tucker Scharfenberg and published each Monday by Grain Journal, Decatur, IL

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