There’s a Dr. Seuss story titled “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” For a home inspector, no truer words were ever spoken. You’ll probably find yourself in some interesting predicaments throughout your career, so job safety must be our top priority.
Here are a few ways that you can enjoy a safer, healthier day on the job every time that you go to work:
#1: Watch out for Dangerous DIY Electrical
Thanks to the plethora of DIY home-improvement TV shows, most home owners have taken on at least a few projects around the house. But when those projects involve adding or changing their electrical service, all sorts of bad things can happen.
You know how electrical service should function. Problem is, that’s when it’s installed safely and correctly. Never assume that any electrical service is safe; always assume that it could have been DIY work. Test it first, and then go from there.
#2: Carry a Second Flashlight or Batteries
What’s the worst that could happen in a dark attic or basement? The batteries in your only flashlight could die when you’re at the farthest point from the exit. Being alone in a strange, pitch-black area is a recipe for injury, so always carry at least a small extra flashlight or extra batteries.
Most smartphones have a flashlight function when you download the app for it. If you don’t want to carry two flashlights or loose batteries in your pocket, get a flashlight app so you’ll at least have some light source if the worst should happen.
#3: Protect Your Head
You’ll probably encounter more potential areas for head injury in attics and crawl spaces, so head protection is always a good idea. Protruding nails, sharp edges o pipe strap, splinters and numerous other things that could cause head injury lurk in those areas.
Attics and crawl spaces aren’t generally finished areas, so every surface that you encounter might have a hazard. A hardhat might seem like overkill for inspecting a home, especially since you’re only required to inspect what’s visible and accessible. But then again, you never know what’s around the next corner.
#4: Stay Aware of Your Surroundings
Speaking of what’s around the next corner, no two houses are ever really the same, and you never know what you’ll find. A soft floor in a bathroom might be from wood rot, which means that the floor could give way underfoot. A loose staircase handrail might give you a false sense of security, and lead to a fall.
Always go forth with a great deal of caution when you enter a strange home. Even houses that look especially nice and well maintained might hold hazards such as mold.
#5: Check Your Gear Regularly
You’re not an emergency responder or someone else with an incredibly dangerous job, but you still need to know that what you’re working with is safe. The idea of inspecting your gear might never occur to you, but Working RE magazine says that it should be part of your regular routine.
Check ladders frequently, and look for missing insulation on any electrical device such as testers. While you’re at it, inspect your work shoes. You spend a lot of time on your feet, and worn out shoes can lead to leg, back and neck pain.
Safety shouldn’t be considered an inconvenience. It’s necessary. Because you’re usually working on your own, no one can see to it but you.
Fortunately, all that it takes is awareness, at least in most cases. Watch your step, check your gear, and never trust any home at face value. A little caution on the front end can save you a pain in the neck or worse in the long run.
Thinking about joining the ranks of home inspectors? You’ve come to the right place. ICA School has one of the best educational programs available, and you can study at your own pace. Enroll now and you could earn your certificate in as little as a few weeks.