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HOME & BUILDING INSPECTORS & INSPECTION METHODS
AGE of a BUILDING - how to determine
ARCHITECTURE & BUILDING COMPONENT ID
BUILDING SAFETY HAZARDS GUIDE
CHIMNEY INSPECTION DIAGNOSIS REPAIR
DECK & PORCH CONSTRUCTION
DEFECT CLUSTERS at HOME INSPECTIONS
DISASTER BUILDING INSPECTION & REPAIR
EXTERIOR WALL SIDING TRIM & FINISHES
FIREPLACES & HEARTHS
FLOOD DAMAGE ASSESSMENT, SAFETY & CLEANUP
FOUNDATION CRACKS & DAMAGE GUIDE
HOME & BUILDING INSPECTION METHODS
HOUSE PARTS, DEFINITIONS
INDOOR AIR QUALITY IMPROVEMENT GUIDE
INSECT INFESTATION / DAMAGE
LIGHT, GUIDE to FORENSIC USE
MOBILE HOME INSPECTION GUIDE
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
MOLD in buildings
NOISE / SOUND DIAGNOSIS & CURE
ODORS & SMELLS DIAGNOSIS & CURE
PIPING IN buildings, Clogs Leaks Types
ROOFING INSPECTION & REPAIR
SAFETY HAZARDS GUIDE
SINKHOLES, WARNING SIGNS
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING EXTERIORS
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING INTERIORS
STANDARDS, HOME INSPECTION
STAIRS, RAILINGS, LANDINGS, RAMPS
VENTILATION in BUILDINGS
VISUAL PERCEPTION ERRORS
WATER ENTRY in buildings
WATER PRESSURE & FLOW MEASUREMENT
WELLS CISTERNS & SPRINGS
WINDOWS & DOORS
Building safety hazards class outline: here we list major building & indoor environmental safety hazards, and we discuss how to detect and protect from safety & environmental hazards in homes and other buildings. We include links to detailed safety articles on important building hazards facing home owners, property owners, tenants, office workers, and repair contractors as well as for building and home inspectors, contractors, and for building owners who need to inspect or test the condition of their building. For full details of this topic see SAFETY HAZARDS & INSPECTIONS.
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- Daniel Friedman 03/26/2008 - Connecticut Association of Home Inspectors
Abstract - this brief paper is a summary of HOME INSPECTION SAFETY HAZARDS a detailed document providing safety advice for home inspectors. See the complete list of building & environmental safety hazards listed at the left of this page. Home Inspection Safety Course - Accident prevention for home inspectors: the purpose of this class and the accompanying web article at /home_inspection/Inspection_Safety.htm is to reduce the chance of serious injury or death for home inspectors, other building inspectors, and building occupants.
The range of hazards faced by home inspectors in the course of examining buildings is considerable. It includes obvious catastrophes such as falling off of a roof or electrocution, and less obvious or less likely events such as structural collapse, exposure to bacterial hazards, fungal hazards, or even physical attack by violent building occupants, biting dogs, sneaky snakes, and pecking parrots.
Home inspectors and other professional building diagnosticians are expected to be observant and attentive to detail. Despite these skills, accidents happen to inspectors.
A Canadian home inspector fell to his death during a roofing inspection. He was ascending a high ladder which he suspected was unsafe. Following a home inspection in New Paltz, NY, Ballinger, a real estate agent who was angry with the results of the inspection, attacked and attempted to kill Steve Vermilye by driving his car off of the pavement, across a sidewalk, crashing into a building wall where Vermilye was walking. Another home inspector was badly injured when an attic fold-down stair fell out of its opening as the inspector was climbing it.
Hazards that an inspector should recognize affect other people too. An aggressive tenant threatened two elderly inspection clients with a rifle and then showered them with stones. An electrical inspector was killed by an electrical arc explosion while removing the cover of an electrical panel. A plumber was killed while leaning over a water pressure tank that, lacking a pressure relief valve, exploded.
We will list some of the more egregious and more interesting of these dangerous building hazards, review accident case histories, and we will illustrate procedures of attention, observation, and hazard recognition that can reduce the chances of accidents during building inspections.
People are not rational about safety
We are more afraid of improbable hazards beyond our control (EMF) than we are of probable hazards over which we have control (smoking cigarettes).
We do not perceive risk accurately
Some accidents are more or less likely to occur than we believe. Some accidents are likely to result in greater or lesser degree of injury than we believe. Having a more accurate picture of where hazardous risks lie can help us learn to properly attend accident risks and thus to avoid accidents.
Total Risk = (Probability of Occurrence) x (Cost of Occurrence)
The attention we pay to various risks needs to be adjusted continuously as we move through a building from area to area (basement to roof) and topic to topic (plumbing to electrical).
Tune risk recognition to area and system: The home inspector's recognition of risks needs to attend the hazards peculiar to each building area and system.
Educate to improve hazard recognition and to teach safe inspection procedures: The level of inspector technical education affects the inspector's ability to recognize hazards and to reduce accidents.
List of Building & Mechanical System Related Safety Topics: Readers should see our list of major building & indoor environmental safety hazards, inspection methods, & remedies listed at the left of these pages. Readers should also see our list of building inspector safety articles at Home Inspection Education & Services - Safety Articles.
Falling, Tripping, Slipping Hazards & Lifting Hazards
The accident rate of injury by slipping, tripping, or falling is among the highest facing home inspectors and home owners.
Falls: The highest risk of injury by falls occurs among the elderly but falls are a particular hazard for home inspectors because of the need to access attics, roofs, and also simply because of the distractions while inspecting any building site. "Falls represent the most frequent non-transportation related accidents occurring among older adults and are the leading cause of home fatalities for this population.
Canadian home inspector fatality, inspector ascending exterior ladder secured to building knew the ladder was unsafe, told his wife he was afraid of it but felt he had to ascend to inspect the roof during a multi-day inspection of a large building. The ladder came away from the building and the inspector fell to his death. (Ca. 1998) (see ROOF INSPECTION SAFETY & LIMITS for more details on this topic).
Hazards to Avoid When Inspecting Roofs
The author has consulted in depth concerning fall injuries and has performed case studies investigating stair and rail accident and injury lawsuits. The full paper and the class materials reviewed several falling lawsuits for which the author was consulted.
Home inspectors are qualified to observe, photo document, and report on physical conditions at a building, such as stairs which are defective for any of a variety of reasons.
How to Avoid Stair, & Railing & Ladder Accidents
Note bad steps and rails to yourself and report orally and in writing to your clients
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