March, 2004
Feature
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



A Heads Up About Protecting Your Noggin

JOHN CRANOR

Home Inspector Safety

Whether crawling around under a home or in an attic, a home inspector’s unprotected head is certainly at risk for bumps and cuts. Most home inspectors have injured their heads more than they wish to remember. Nails penetrating through the roof sheathing and collar ties in the attic, plumbing, sharp sheet metal on duct work and floor joists under the home are only a brief list of possible hazards.

A few years ago while inspecting a crawl space, I whacked the crown of my unprotected, partly bald head on a cast iron waste pipe. I think I actually saw stars! Before I could get out, blood was running to my forehead, and I had to finish the inspection with a towel on my head. Later, at the emergency room, it took six stitches to close the wound.

Shortly after that, I decided some type of head protection was in order. I searched for something that was not too bulky to wear in a tight crawl space and that would stay on while I was maneuvering. When nothing on the market met my specifications, it was time to improvise.

I bought a train engineer-type cap and cut a piece of vinyl siding to fit tightly in the top. The vinyl had to be heated so that it could be molded to slightly wrap the top on my head. It has worked great, and I’ve not once injured my head since I started wearing it. Plus, the cap keeps the spider webs out of my hair.


Although I’m not recommending my creative solution to others, I would like to remind other home inspectors that it’s wise to protect their heads. There is an assortment of bump caps available. Plus, I found a Web site that offers baseball cap inserts, something I may eventually try (www.miracool.com/headprotection/bump.html).