Archive for category 3 points of contact

Have you considered a Safety Stand-Down?

By Jena Williams

A worker falling from a loading dock.

The Safety Stand-Down to prevent falls is in full swing at Washington State’s construction sites (May 4-15), but is a relevant topic for the trucking industry as well.

 What is a Safety Stand-Down? A Safety Stand Down is when you take a break from normal work activities to call a quick meeting with all workers to focus on a workplace safety topic – in this case, preventing falls.

Falls from elevation account for 11% of the injuries to Washington’s trucking industry workers and 16% of the costs to the workers’ compensation system for the industry.

According to our recent report, the majority of the falls are attributable to:

  • Entering/exiting the truck cab.
  • Falling off the back of the trailer or the liftgate.
  • Missing a step or getting a foot caught in a rung of a ladder (both attached to a truck and freestanding).
  • Ladders slipping out from underneath a worker.

It’s worth it to take the time to problem-solve fall hazards at your company.

Think of ways to engineer fall hazards out of your workplace. For example, there are a variety aftermarket tools available to equip your forklift to assist with tarping to keep workers off the load.  Check to see if there is an aftermarket gauge that can be used to check tank-trailers instead of requiring drivers to check manually from the top.

Get workers thinking about safety by asking them to point out the hazards they see and suggest ways to mitigate them.

During your Safety Stand-Down, ask drivers to check the treads on their boots to see if wear might cause a slip on the cab steps. Also check the tread on the cab steps and make sure the steps themselves are securely fastened. Stress again the importance of 3 points-of-contact and checking the ground for debris, oil or potholes before exiting the cab.

What interventions have you implemented at your company to prevent falls? We’d like to hear about them and how your Safety Stand-Down went. Please share your stories in the comments.

Additional fall prevention resources are available on our website at:

You can print these safety posters to post around your business. They can be printed on either letter-sized or 11”x17” sized paper.

Don’t fall for it!

Wear the footwear of the pros!

Why climbing technique matters

Consider the length of your career

Look before you leap

The tool you use for climbing matters

Don’t fall for it! (loading dock)

Keep up the good work! Together we can prevent injuries in trucking.

Saved by the handhold

By Jena Williams

Entering cab using 3 points of contact

Have you ever wondered if retro-fitting trucks or trailers with handholds are worth the investment? After talking with many injured workers, we can assure you that they are. A well placed handhold can make the difference between an injury and a non-event.

Some tips

Keep it consistent: People are creatures of habit and muscles have memory. The more consistently placed the handles, the more likely people are to reach for (and depend on) a handhold, rather than grab for a phantom handle.

More is better: This is true in more than one way. 1) Put handles on both sides of trailers, not just one. 2) If a shorter or taller worker needs a different location, add another handle rather than moving the one that is there so that if drivers slip-seat, a new driver won’t be injured.

Ask for feedback: Ask workers if the handle placement is working for them or if there are changes that need to be made. Asking questions like this opens up communication lines and improves the safety culture of the company.

This is also a good opportunity to remind workers to use 3 points-of-contact. Below are links to materials to help.

Often small investments in safety can make a huge difference in injury prevention.


Links to trailer/cab entry and exit training

Printable materials:

Online simulation:

What’s March Madness got to do with trucking?

By Jena Williams

This year, the NCAA celebrates 75 years of March Madness. Sudden-death rules apply as 64 colleges compete for 3 weeks to determine this year’s national champion. Adrenaline pumping, fans cheering, layups, 3 pointers, slam-dunks, and last-second game winning shots. Powerful moves and teamwork are needed to win the game.

These amazing athletes are in top physical condition. Their bodies are warmed up and cooled down and trained by professionals.

On the sidelines and in the locker room, team docs are armed with ice packs, ibuprofen, and other tools to keep players performing. Even in the best of conditions, with the best coaches, the best equipment and personalized medical care, a body can only handle so many jumps, so much wear and tear.

According to a study by Dr. Deitch and his colleagues, 19.3 injuries are sustained per 1,000 NBA athlete exposures. The lower extremity was the most commonly injured body area (65%), and lateral ankle sprain (13.7%) was the most common diagnosis.

The great players who manage to avoid major injuries in college may go on to play professionally for a few years, maybe even a decade. But eventually, their bodies will wear out; they will have to give up the game to the younger players.

So what does this have to do with truck drivers and warehouse workers? Well, just like basketball players, you often jump out of your cab and off your trailer. Some loaders will jump on and off 30 plus times a day.

I know, no one wants a lecture, or to be reminded that they are not invincible. But truth be told, if athletes who are in top physical condition with the best care, the best trainers and the best equipment get injured, why wouldn’t the average Joe or Jane who jumps all day also get injured?

How can you stay in the game for the long haul?


  • Use 3 points of contact because it protects your body just like warming up and cooling down before a game.
  • Tell your employer when the cab or trailer steps are worn or damaged.


  • Ask workers if their equipment is working for them.
  • Develop a policy for reporting and maintaining worn cab or trailer steps.

Want to see how much force even a jump from the lowest step creates? Check out this simulation. You can put in your own weight and test different scenarios.

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Jump force simulation:

Current NBA player injuries:


By Jena Williams

Surprised expression

We are continually bombarded with topics to be aware of.  In October we have Domestic Violence Awareness, Eye Injury Prevention, National Breast Cancer Awareness, National Bullying Prevention… The list goes on. All worthy causes to be sure, but it makes me dizzy just trying to keep up.

One might think, “So what. Why do I need to know about all these topics of the month, week or day?” Well, the truth of the matter is, you may not need to know. Unless of course it affects you or someone you love, then you do need to know because by knowing, you can potentially contribute to a better outcome.

Okay, so just what am I getting at? As is normally the case in this blog, it swings full circle back to trucking, specifically trucking safety. By knowing about safety, by being aware of the risks and avoiding them, you can create a better outcome for your life and contribute to bettering the lives of those you love who are counting on you.

To have trucking as a lifelong career, you must be aware of the actions you can take to be as safe on the job as possible. TIRES works to raise awareness that:

Truck drivers know better than anyone that awareness is essential while driving. Being aware of that passenger vehicle that’s been riding in your blind spot…Now where’d he go???

TIRES would also like to make the motoring public aware of how they can make your job safer. Do you have ideas of how we can help to raise awareness to make the roads safer for trucks? Please comment below with your ideas. TIRES is here to support you in raising awareness every day of the year. Let’s do what we can to achieve the best outcomes for you and your family.

More safety training materials:

National Health Awareness Center has a calendar of awareness topics.

Washington Trucking Associations’ Truck Driving Championships

By Jena Williams

Saturday morning was cold, windy and raining for the WTA’s Truck Driving Championship. But hey – that’s really perfect weather to show that you can drive in Washington! Tough truckers and their families stood in the rain to support their drivers and TIRES was there to share safety simulations.

Winners were announced at the event, and as soon as the results are released for publishing, TIRES will post a list of the winners on this blog so check back soon! Congratulations to the winners, contestants and families. It’s the highlight of our year to get out and meet you in person. Also glad that Washingtonians are too tough to let a little rain keep them from a great event with friends and family!

Link to WTA:

Links to TIRES safety simulations:

Slip, fall:


Don’t jump!

Tips gleaned from fatality investigation

craneBy Jena Williams

A crane operator/truck driver died in July of 2010 when he fell 4 feet while dismounting from the crane’s turntable. There is a lot of overlap between this investigation of the crane operator’s situation and what truck drivers face on a daily basis. Below are some tips gained from the fatality investigation.

  • Maintain 3-points of contact — two hands and one foot, or one hand and two feet – with the equipment or ground at all times. This method allows for greater stability and control and reduces the possibility of a fall.
  • Face toward the equipment, both when mounting and dismounting. This allows for better balance and use of handholds/handrails and better contact of the foot with steps.
  • Do not jump. This increases the impact forces on the knees, ankles, and spine which may cause a sprain or over time conditions such as osteoarthritis of the knees. Also it increases the possibility of slipping and falling when landing on slippery or uneven surfaces.
  • Mount and dismount equipment only where steps, ladders, and handrails/handholds are provided.
  • Look before dismounting to be sure that there are no obstacles, such as holes, uneven ground, ice, or other conditions that may affect footing.
  • Wear footwear with slip resistant soles.
  • Clean mud off of footwear.
  • Do not carry anything in hands, so as to be able to use handholds/handrails. Use a hand line and bag/bucket to raise or lower equipment.

For more information or to review the entire report click here.

Don’t Jump!

By Jena Williams

Don’t Jump!

By Jena Williams

Risky vs. Safe: What’s your exit strategy?

When it’s time to get out of your cab or trailer, do you jump? Maybe ride the door? Or do you use three points of contact? Check out these training videos on YouTube for more information on why trucking professionals should always use three points of contact. Be sure to watch both part 1 and part 2.