A Home Inspector’s Guide to Staying Safe on the Job: 6 Tips and Best Practices

June 30, 2023 | 
home inspectors guide to staying safe

From navigating unfamiliar environments to encountering potential dangers, home inspectors must prioritize their safety on the job. This comprehensive guide will delve into essential tips and best practices for every home inspector to maintain a safe working environment.

By implementing these tips, inspectors can minimize the likelihood of accidents, injuries, and health hazards, while carrying out their vital role confidently and professionally. Let’s explore the critical elements of staying safe during home inspections.

Carry Key Safety Items

Some essential items help keep you safe and prevent injury during home inspections. Carry these three tools with you:

  • Flashlight: A bright and reliable flashlight is crucial for seeing in dark areas, crawl spaces, attics, and utility rooms with limited lighting. It improves visibility and reduces the risk of falls while enabling you to avoid hazardous conditions.
  • Non-contact voltage tester: This tool detects electrical currents without direct contact. It helps identify live wires and electrical malfunctions, enhancing inspection safety.
  • Ladder and safety harness: A collapsible ladder and safety harness may be necessary to access roofs or elevated areas safely. Attend a training class with your team on ladder safety and fall protection techniques.

A Home Inspector’s Guide to Staying Safe with Ladders

Set up the ladder on a firm and level surface. If inspecting the exterior of a house, avoid uneven or slippery ground. Use ladder stabilizers or levelers if necessary to ensure stability. Never place a ladder in front of doors or obstructed areas.

Position the ladder at a safe angle, typically a 75-degree angle or 1:4 ratio. This provides a stable and secure climbing surface.

When climbing the ladder, always maintain three points of contact (e.g., two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand) for stability and balance.

In between jobs, inspect the ladder for signs of damage or wear. Replace any worn or damaged parts as needed. Keep the ladder clean and free from debris that could cause slips and falls.

Drones for Roof Inspections

In recent years, aerial drones have become a popular tool for home inspectors, offering excellent safety benefits. Drones allow inspectors to conduct detailed roof inspections without physically climbing onto the roof. This reduces the risk of falls, especially on steep, slippery, or deteriorating roofs. Inspectors capture high-resolution images and videos with drones, documenting roof conditions in detail without leaving the ground.

Drones can also access other hard-to-reach areas with limited accessibility. Instead of squeezing into tight spaces or using ladders, deploy a drone to capture visuals and assess potential hazards without endangering yourself.

A Home Inspector’s Guide to Staying Safe with PPE

When conducting home inspections, prioritize safety by wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Here are some common PPE items for home inspectors:

  • Safety glasses or goggles: Carry safety goggles and wear them as needed to protect your eyes from potential hazards you may encounter during inspections.
  • Respiratory protection: A respirator or dust mask may be necessary depending on the nature of the inspection and the potential presence of airborne contaminants (e.g., mold or asbestos).
  • Gloves: Wear gloves to protect your hands from potential contact with hazardous materials, sharp objects, or chemicals.
  • Protective clothing: Wear coveralls, a disposable jumpsuit, or other protective clothing to shield their regular clothing from dirt and contaminants.
  • Closed-toed shoes: Sturdy, closed-toe shoes or boots with slip-resistant soles protect your feet from potential injury.
  • Head protection: A hard hat or safety helmet may be necessary when there is a risk of falling objects or low-hanging obstructions.

The specific PPE requirements may vary depending on the nature of the inspection, local regulations, and the perceived risks associated with the property. Assess the potential hazards beforehand and take appropriate measures to protect your safety and health.

Keep a First Aid Kit with You

Carry a first aid kit in your vehicle so you’re prepared for any minor injuries or medical emergencies that may occur on the job. Having a well-stocked first aid kit allows you to promptly address injuries before seeking professional medical help.

Get Worker’s Comp Insurance

As a home inspector, take out workers’ compensation insurance for yourself or everyone on your team if you have a multi-inspector company. It provides essential protection in case of injury on the job.

Home inspections involve physical demands and potential hazards, increasing the risk of workplace injuries. Workers’ compensation insurance ensures that if an inspector is injured on the job, they will receive medical care and financial support for lost wages. It helps cover medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and disability benefits, reducing the financial burden on the injured inspector and the company owner.

While it’s uncommon to come across serious risks during a home inspection, it’s good to always be prepared for the possibility. Stay vigilant, use safety equipment and PPE, and hold workers’ comp insurance for all your inspectors in case of the unexpected.

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