Do you put up CAUTION signs during an inspection ever?

Perhaps when you open a crawlspace hatch in the floor? Do you ever put up red cones or safety tape or CAUTION signs or anything?

No, why do you ask?

I have been supoenaed to testify in a case where a home inspector left the access hatch of a crawlspace door open and went down inside. The buyer came along and walked right into the hole. He broke his arm in several places. Big lawsuit.

I’m meeting with a CAUTION sign manufacturer in a few minutes and will have signs available for members to buy. I’ll make the receipts indicate exactly what the signs are for. Save your receipt.

No but now I will. Thanks!

We have to put them 500 feet before the opening with flashing red lights?

Sounds like a can of worms.

I am not sure about most locations in the US but being a former OSHA compliance officer for a manufacturing company.

Any access opening should be baracaded or marked as such. A watchman should be placed outside of the opening to keep communication with entrant and direct others away from the opening.

In Iowa OSHA has no authority over residential and small business. An OSHA officer cannot approach a roofing site and start issuing citations, but they can try to scare the hell out of the unsafe workers.

This case sounds a Little odd to me, usually a crawl space access is in a closet, was this one right smack dab in the middle of a hallway?? How do you just ‘walk by’ and fall in?

Put hazard warning tape around the perimeter of the home!

whatever happened to watching where you are walking.

Ooops I forgot. This is America where no on is responsible for his own actions.

We’ve all had clients who, to our surprise, followed us up a ladder. I’m thinking the sign should read “CAUTION, Inspector at Work, STAY BACK” That way the sign could be used for ladders, crawlspace openings, attics, etc.

I tell my clients not to follow me up on the roof or enter the attic or crawlspace under any circumstances during the inspection as these areas have hidden hazards and I cannot be held responsible for their safety. I’m covered right? What about that electrical deadfront, it’s OK to take that off in the beggining of the inspection and put it back on in the end isn’t it. Oh, by the way is it my fault when mother mary brings her 8 kids to the inspection and one of them drowns in the pool that lacks the child protection fence, or does that only count after I got to that part of the inspection process?

I could go on…and on…and on…No limit to liability.

I am sensing that this isolated and frivolous suit is hardly worth the trouble.

The seller, who owns the home, is responsible for injuries that occur on his property. Not the home inspector who lawfully opens the entrance to a crawlspace.

This suit equates to one suing the mailman who delivered the letter from which he received a paper cut.

Must I post a “Beware of Dog” sign if the neighbor’s dog wanders into the yard and bites my client during an inspection. Must I first fumigate in the event that he should be bit by a spider as he peers into an empty closet that I opened?

For me to use caution tape is for me to assume such liability.

Makes us sound dangerous.

Since most crawlspace doors on the exterior around here, I have always hoped that someone did not decide to close the door and slip the padlock on it while I was in the crawlspace.

I had one of those in a floor but the client watched me go in, actually he watched me do it two times while laughing the 2nd time as I went back in to look for my keys.

I think he cracked a rib or two laughing at me but did not sue me.

I am also certified OSHA and individuals are to be especially cautious due to the fact OSHA does not cover individually owned business. The thinking is with no employees the owner is probably going to protect himself because he has no recourse if an injury puts him out of business.
As far as protecting an opening where injury could be possible by others who are not inspectors there should be a standard and some markings…lets face it, people are oblivious and natural selection has been replaced with law suits.

In 32 years and inspecting in at least 10 states I’ve NEVER done it, never heard of it being done, and can’t help but think that anybody suggesting it or even thinking it should have been done is 2 beers short of a 6-pack.

By the way as a builder / contractor of residential housing and having done that in at least 6 states we’ve NEVER done that on a NEW construction site (Example: the basement is poured; the house is framed; there is a cut-out in the floor for the stairwell, which is not there yet; and there is 1 LONELY 2x4 around the opening to the floor 10 feet below).

MORAL of the story - WALKER beware OR do as 60 year olds were taught by dear old dad - Learn to tuck and roll … It will make a man out of you.

I had one gal weighing only 100 Lbs at the most . Follow me into the attic with out me knowing when i heard a pop I turned and seen her standing between the truss . I calmly asked her to step onto the lumber which she did. Then ask me why a had a scared look on m face. LOL i just said you almost ended up back in the living room the hard way.

Can you post more about this law suit? I’d like to read the particulars about it if you don’t mind. THANKS!

My friend Ray had a day off from his job and asked me if he could go along on an inspection. I gave him an outlet tester and showed him what to look for (he is a city boy, not too mechanically inclined). Later I opened the crawlspace hatch and he looked over and responded how scary it looked. About five minutes later I hear a bad crash so I looked over and it was Ray laying in the bottom of the crawlspace. I said Ray what in the heck are you doing, he said I fell through the crawlspace hole when I was walking over to check an outlet. I told him that that was none too smart, he agreed. The next day he woke up sore and went to the hospital and they said he cracked his ribs. The really bad part is that it hurt when he laughed but he could not stop laughing about it when he told me about his trip to the hospital.