Home inspection is a dangerous industry to begin with: entering into attics, crawl spaces, and inspecting the roof. Knowing this, home inspectors should always bring appropriate gear with them to avoid the hazardous situations that come with inspections.
Its quite a coincidence that the inspection job of looking for safety defects can set inspectors and their clients up for safety risks in and of itself. To execute your inspections problem free, the following PPE is ideal for your protection:
- Coveralls : this one piece protective garment is intended to be worn when engaging in heavy manual work. By providing a high level of protection during work activities, coveralls ensure that you stay safe from biological, chemical, mechanical, thermal, electromagnetic and electrical hazards. We suggest opting for a disposable coverall like our BioPro Disposable Coverall as it provides you with the standard coverall without the hassle of having to decontaminating used suits.
- Goggles : this type of eye protection is designed to protect against a plethora of harmful airborne substances such as sawdust and mold spores. It is important to be wearing eye protection in confined spaces such as crawl spaces and attics as well as when inspecting electrical panels. Our Filterspec line comes with built in eye protection making it a convenient all in one respiratory mask while on the job.
- Roof Equipment : many inspectors find themselves walking on rooftops for wind, hail and standard roof inspections ; making them prone to possible fall related injuries. Roof shoes, tie offs, and secure ladder set ups are crucial for safety.
- Flashlights : it is recommended by ASHI that all home inspectors bring at least two flashlights on the job at all times as there are a variety of dangerous elements that can sneak up on you: exposed hardware, animals, and other hazardous situations.
- Gloves + Head Protection: protecting your hands when entering these spaces is certainly a given. Rubber or leather gloves are recommended as electrical shock protection is something to keep in mind. Gloves should fit comfortable but tightly on the hands to ensure full protection. Entering crawl spaces and climbing into attics can leave you at risk of head injury. Wearing light impact protection such as a BumpCap (which is also what makes up the cap in the Powercap Active Respirator) is a great way to avoid this risk.
- Respirators: it is suggested that respirators are the most underutilized but also one of the most important pieces of PPE for home inspectors. With a variety of different options, it can sometimes be difficult to pick the appropriate one.
Here are a few suggestions based on the type of substances you may come into contact with as a home inspector:
Molds – mold exposure, primarily asbestos, can cause certain cancers. These molds are commonly found within the walls, ceiling tiles, roofing, or insulation. Vermiculite inspection is especially dangerous and requires appropriate protection to work around. We recommend wearing the Force 8 ABEK1P3, CleanAir, or Infinity 1 system for full protection against mold.
Animal Droppings – a common find when home inspecting, animal droppings can carry a range of different viruses including hantavirus, histoplasmosis, or cryptococcosis. An N95 or higher respirator will be sufficient for protection. Try our NIOSH approved Force Typhoon 8 or the Powercap Active for the best protection.
Lead Paint – what was once a popular home material for how quickly it dried and its durability, is now highly toxic and can lead to serious health issues such as behavorial problems, lead poisoning and even seizure. Paint chips, dust, and cracking all mean that lead particulate is in the air and is certainly something a home inspector will want to avoid. A powered respirator system such as our Powercap, CleanAir or Infinity line will fully protect you as will our Force 8 line.
Old or Improperly Installed Insulation – insulation can make you sick. point blank. Its odor as well as direct contact with the insulation itself or its dust can cause a variety of irritation. Two common toxins found in insulation have been formaldehyde and asbestos. While this type of insulation is now banned, many older homes still have this type of insulation which can be deadly. Wearing a full face respirator or air powered respirator will be your best bet for staying safe. Again, our Powercap, Force 8, CleanAir or Infinity lines will be your safest choice.
A cost efficient, compact, disposable respirator such as our Force 8 (available in both NIOSH Press to Check Fit for particulate protection and ABEK1PE version for full particle and chemical protection (including asbestos) is a great choice for home inspectors. Looking for something with built in eye protection? The Filterspec line is perfect for protection from particulates. Wanting something that prevents any feeling of claustrophobia, keeps you cool in the hot spaces, and provides light impact protection? Then our Powercap Active is the perfect unit for you. Dealing with heavy duty chemical exposure or want something belt mounted? We might suggest our Clean Air Pro systems or our Infinity line up. It is important to utilize a respirator that filters at least 99.97% if particles, which all of ours do.
- Road Cones + Danger Signs: the last pieces of recommended PPE equipment are road those that protect not only yourself but your clients. Road cones help to ensure that there is ample space around your vehicle while you work, while danger signs ensure that clients are warned of any potential hazards.
To summarize: PPE is a crucial part of professional home inspection work. Without it, you are exposing yourself to high levels of danger while also exposing your clients. Bringing the appropriate equipment to all inspection jobs will not only keep you safe as a professional but also keep you looking professional for the long run.
For additional home inspector information, be sure to check out ASHI.
Stay safe out there.