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.

January 25, 2006

Mr. Christer Hogne
[Via e-mail]

Re: Whether OSHA standards prohibit using two power hoists wired together to a single control; whether a minimum of two persons are required to be on board a two-point suspended scaffold.

Dear Mr. Hogne:

This is in response to your e-mail submitted January 26, 2005,1 to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). You requested that OSHA address the use of power-operated hoists on two-point suspension scaffolds and the whether at least two persons must always be on board.

We have paraphrased your question as follows:

Question (1): Does the OSHA scaffold standard (Part 1926 Subpart L) permit an employer to wire together two electric hoist motors into a single control, so that one employee may operate both hoists simultaneously from one control?


Title 29 CFR 1926.451(d)(13) provides:

Suspension scaffold power-operated hoists...shall be tested by a qualified testing laboratory.

To meet this standard, a qualified testing laboratory would have to test the two power-operated hoists wired to a single central control. In your scenario, the employer would be prohibited from using this configuration unless each hoist and the central control were all tested by a qualified laboratory after the motors were wired together.

Question (2): Does the OSHA scaffold standard (Part 1926 Subpart L) require a minimum of two persons on board a two-point suspended scaffold?


No, Subpart L does not specify a minimum number of employees that must be on board for operation of a two-point suspension scaffold.

If you need any information on this matter, please contact us by fax at: U.S. Department of Labor, Directorate of Construction Office of Construction Standards and Guidance, (202) 693-2020. You may also contact us by mail at the above office, Room N3468, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210, although there may be a delay in our receiving correspondence by mail.


Russell B. Swanson, Director
Directorate of Construction



1 There was no response to our requests for additional information; therefore, we are addressing your question based on the information contained in your January 26, 2005, e-mail.   [ back to text ]