OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.

March 8, 1976

Mr. Ken Jensen
Fireman's Fund
American Insurance Companies
New York Branch Office
110 William Street
New York, New York 10038

Dear Mr. Jensen:

This is in response to your letter requesting clarification of the OSHA requirement for safety latches on lifting hooks.

The requirement for safety latches (AKA throat latches) is only specified in OSHA 1910.181(j)(2)(ii), which states that "Safety latch type hooks shall be used wherever possible."

OSHA compliance officers may use the OSHA general duty clause identified as paragraph 5(a)(1) of the Williams-Steiger Act whenever a hazard is created by a hoisting operation where the hoist hook is not provided with a throat latch. The compliance officer may then support the 5(a)(1) citation by calling attention to 1910.181.(j)(2)(ii).

A second alternative would be to cite the general duty clause 5(a)(1) and support it with the industry practice where the use of safety or throat latches is fairly common.

Please feel free to contact us if there are further questions about OSHA.


Alfred Barden
Regional Administrator
Occupational Safety and Health