September, 2002
You Tell Us
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Concern for Safety


To the editor:

I was involved in the management of a roofing company for 18 years prior to becoming a home inspector. My interview to enter the roofing industry was interrupted when the president of the company had to leave to go to an emergency ward because his 25-year-old foreman had fallen 10 feet and had been pronounced dead on arrival. He was forced to inform the young man’s mother her son was dead.

After that ominous start, I still entered the roofing business, and I have been  involved in the trade for 28 years. I presently work in a consulting capacity for several roofing companies, as well as for several shingle manufactures. During this time I have seen a wide range of injuries. Fortunately, only one death. But one company that retains my services has a young man working in the office who is a paraplegic as a result of a roofing fall.

I found the article on Volunteer Recognition in the June issue of the Reporter chilling. My biggest problem with the article is the impression it may leave on new inspectors and Candidates. There are many inspectors who are new to the profession with a minimum of roofing and ladder experience. They may read this article and decide to impress their client by trotting up a wet, deteriorated six-twelve single roof. This article may be rattling in the back of their minds. A crumbling roof on a rainy day can be as slippery as ice. Suddenly they find themselves sliding to paralysis or death.

This article encourages poor judgment. While their altruism is admirable, their common sense is questionable. In my roofing seminars, I have not emphasized safety sufficiently. I will do so in the future, and not climbing on a rain soaked roof will definitely be addressed.

Gerry Aubrey
ASHI Member
Blue Bell Consulting
Blue Bell, Pa.