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Kaplan ITA's Monthly Inspection Tips - Free Electronic Newsletter

July, 2002
Preventing Injury While Inspecting
Issue #3

Dear Inspector,

This month I would like to briefly discuss some methods of preventing injury and discomfort.

Entering crawlspaces:
In addition to the usual coveralls to protect yourself in the crawlspace, here are some other recommendations to provide protection to enter those remote locations in the crawlspace. Gloves are a must. I like heavy leather gloves, and if the crawl is particularly small or an older house, I like to duct tape my coveralls to the gloves to prevent spiders and other pests from locating my skin. Some times I have also taped the coveralls to my ankles.

I find spider webs and insulation on my bald head does not look professional to my clients. I like to wear a painters hood (looks like a ski mask, but not designed for warmth) so I can peel it off along with all the spider webs and other debris once I exit the crawlspace. I wear a nuisance dust mask in all attics and crawls. I don't like to exit the space coughing up the dust in front of my client, not to mention the raw throat it causes. In older homes where I suspect environmental hazards I wear a hepa respirator, or just don't go in there.

Many crawlspaces contain rocks and other debris. Crawling through this material can cause pain for several days in the knees and elbows. I have found using plastic kneepads over the coveralls (prevents tearing the material) works good for the knees. What about my hurting elbows? I found "Rollerblade" style elbow pads with the plastic cup work great. You can crawl through almost anything with those on.

Some inspectors also wear a bump cap (hard had "light") in attics and crawls. Not a bad idea, however, I would locate one with the most minimal brim as possible. I have found the brim blocks my view and sometimes causes me to bump into things (I suppose the reason for the cap).

Finally, I carry an old pair of work boots to wear in crawlspaces. I don't like to ruin my good inspection shoes under the house, plus many times you pick up mud and other debris under the house.

I keep all the above in a plastic container in my inspection vehicle. I have several coveralls, but the other items I just hose off occasionally.
Once clients see the preparation that goes into entering these spaces they don't mind the fact that I charge extra for houses with crawlspaces!

Mike Casey
Kaplan Professional Schools
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