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 https://www.osha.gov.

April 2, 1992

Mr. Randy Hooks President
Lydich-Hooks Roofing Company
Post Office Box 2605
Lubbock, Texas 79408

Dear Mr. Hooks:

This is in response to your January 13 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Lubbock Area Office requesting a variance from the ladder use requirement of 29 CFR 1926.1053(b)(22). Your request has been forwarded to this office for response. I apologize for the delay in responding to you.

OSHA is unable to grant your request for a variance from the requirements of 1926.1053(b)(22) because this section allows an object or load to be carried by a person climbing or descending a ladder provided it is done safely (so as not to cause the employee to lose balance and fall). In regard to which objects can be carried safely, please be guided by the following discussion from the preamble of the final rule (55 FR 47682) which was published on November 14, 1990:

"Although OSHA believes that small items such as hammers, pliers, measuring tapes, nails, paint brushes, and similar items should be carried in pouches, holsters, or belt loops, the language in the final rule would not preclude an employee from carrying such items while climbing a ladder so long as the items don't impede the employee's ability to maintain full control while climbing or descending the ladder. It is OSHA's belief that the employee's focus and attention while climbing up and/or down a ladder should be on making a safe ascent or descent and not on transporting items up and down the ladder. OSHA notes that an employee who needs to take a large or heavy object to a different level by means of a ladder can pull the object up or lower it with a handline."

If we can be of any further assistance, please contact Mr. Roy F. Gurnham or Mr. Dale Cavanaugh of my staff in the Office of Construction and Maritime Compliance Assistance at (202) 523-8136.


Patricia K. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs

January 13, 1992

U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety & Health Administration
Room 422,
Federal Building
1205 Texas Avenue
Lubbock, Texas 79401

Re: 29 CFR 1926.1053(b)(22)


We hereby request a permanent variance from the above-referenced standard. The record will show that for our company the risks from the above-referenced hazard have been non-existent.

We take great care in training our personnel in ladder safety. The risks that we would incur in utilizing other methods of material conveyance seem to expose our employees to greater risk than simply carrying something up a ladder.

The statute as written seems a little vague. The working or the statute implies that there are objects or loads which could be carried safety. In short, this subpart seems to be judging. We submit that our employees should be allowed to occasionally carry materials up ladders without threat of citation.

Please let us know your views on our Variance Application.

Yours truly,


Randy Hooks

RE: bf