A top cause of death amongst construction workers is falls from elevation, of which a third are from ladders. Some of these fatalities could be prevented simply with the implementation of the three-point control technique.

In addition to proper use of horizontal grab bars and the existing horizontal rungs, construction workers should be trained to use the three-point control technique. This technique requires that the worker use three limbs for reliability and stable support, as well as gripping a horizontal support using a horizontal power grip. The worker uses his or her hands to grab and hold an adequate support so that one hand is responsible for holding the climber’s body weight in case of an emergency. This grip has been proven by research to be more effective in preventing a fall than holding onto a vertical side object.

Differing from three-point control, three-point contact requires three points of support without specific body parts or a designated ladder or other structure. The sizes and shapes of the ladder’s components are irrelevant, unlike the three-point control technique. If construction workers are properly trained in the use of horizontal grab bars and the three-point control technique, the number of fall related fatalities has the chance to be minimized.

Source: Nigel Ellis, FallSafety.com