June, 2015
The ASHI School
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Ya Gotta Love Your Ladder - At Least For Now!


When it comes to inspecting roofs, chimneys or any elevated surface, how you inspect is just as important as where or what you inspect. Unless you own an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and program it to fly around and take pictures, your portable ladder is the equipment that will allow you to reach and examine those high places.

One of the topics that The ASHI School instructors teach is Roofing, Flashings and Chimneys. At the end of the roofing instruction, the student should be able to do the following:

  • List and explain the two main categories of roofing
  • Describe 12 types of roofing material used
  • Explain 10 common problems affecting all roof types
  • Explain five common problems unique to sloped roofs
  • Explain two common problems unique to flat roofs
  • List and describe 11 types of flashings used on roofs
  • Explain eight common defects related to roof flashings
  • List five materials and five components used in chimneys
  • Explain nine common defects with chimneys

With this instruction, the school also wants to alert students to the dangers that can exist when inspecting a roof and provide guidance about how to remain safe.

It may be gratifying to know that, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Construction Standard, 29 CFR 1926, Subpart M, Section 500(a), fall protection is not required for those conducting initial roof inspections.

But does that mean the operation is safe? You know the answer: “Of course not!”

Slips and falls are the second largest source of unintentional injury deaths. Of all industrial fatalities, falls account for about 12%, which is more than the percentages for fatalities by electrical current, fires, burns, drowning and poisons. Among all the workers injured in falls from heights, about 20% die from their injury. For falls between levels (e.g., from ladders or roofs), the main events that typically lead to the fall are loss of support of underlying surface or slipping (28%), and unexpected vertical foot movement or “stepping on air” (8%). Falls from ladders make up about 1% of total accidental deaths. And because not all falls result in a lost-time injury, accident reports tend to drastically underestimate the actual number of falls that occur, as stated in a 2008 publication of Work Design. The solution to falls is twofold: Prevent the fall and reduce the risk of falling.

Knowing how to properly set up a ladder, along with having a good pair of safety shoes to wear while inspecting roofs, are all part of the knowledge and equipment that home inspectors should invest in to remain safe and confident during roof inspections.

2015 Upcoming Home Inspector Classes:

  • Des Plaines, IL - July 6-17
  • Leesburg, VA - July 13-24
  • Cincinnati, OH - July 20-31
  • Tampa, FL - July 20-31
  • Cummings, GA - July 20-31
  • St. Louis, MO - July 20-31
  • Bellvue, WA - July 27 - August 7

Infared 2-day Class

  • Leesburg, VA - July 31 - August 1