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  1. #1
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    Post Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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    Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch
    "It's a safety hazard," said Boerner, owner of STL Home Inspection Services. "People don't have a clue about it. People just don't read the instructions to ...



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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Yet the eyes contine to roll from everyone in the room when you mention it


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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Thanks for posting that Brian. I am amazed how many home owners are unaware of the anti-tipping brackets. When you take the time to explain it they do get it.


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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    I started explaining this to a client several years ago when he stopped me mid sentence to explain he knew about the danger first hand.
    His son spent quite a while in intensive care from major burns that happened while the 12 year old sister was watching the toddler. He climbed on the oven door to see big sis making mac & cheese and tipped the stove with the boiling water all over himself. That was one dad that got it.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    I actually know inspectors that dont check it. I always do and put this comment in my report if not found. Most of the time its taped to back of the range or sitting in a drawer next to it.
    "No anti tip device noted, This is an important safety device that should be installed."


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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    I have never inspected for tip brackets. Just as I do not check appliances.

    Is it another liability we need to incur? Where does it stop? Are inspectors providing lists to clients with all the recalls for electrical products, appliances, computers, furnaces, lead containing venetian blinds, water heaters.... what standards are evolving as a result of going beyond the SOP? Do we exceed standards in one area while not in another?

    And just to add to the discussion...

    What is to stop a child from pulling out the lower draw in a high boy chest, and stepping on them and the high boy falling on top of the child?

    Or a child getting in the front loader washer, the dryer... are inspectors becoming baby sitters?


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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Ray,

    The chest in your example is furniture, not a built-in appliance. So, in that case, the responsible party would be the people who put it there.
    And I've never seen laundry equipment that spec'ed out an anti-tip bracket or device, but I bet one exists.

    And FWIW, it takes more time to report it than to actually check it.

    So if you aren't inspecting appliances, then I suppose you'll be fine. But the risk/reward factor on this particular issue is quite high.

    Dom.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    I view the SOP both ASHI and Arizona as a “minimum” standard. I check all appliances that are “built in” including microwaves and dishwashers (laundry and refrigerators I do not look at). I fill sinks to check overflows. I check every outlet, door and window that I don’t have to move furniture to get to.

    To me this is not an added liability but protecting myself from getting the dreaded letter from the state that a complaint was filed because the one outlet I may have checked was the only one that worked in the room. I don’t want to spend the day in front of ten suit and ties while they nit pick every dot and “t” in my report looking for anything they don’t like.

    Exceeding the SOP for me is also good business. People want added value for their money. When the “shoppers” call I tell them before they make a decision to compare my sample report to the $199 guy. About half of them come back to me because they see the added value in the service they are purchasing.

    I also give a written guarantee with every inspection and don’t want to have to go back and fix something because I just did the minimum.

    How you adhere to or exceed the SOP is a matter of choice. For me exceeding it every way possible works best for my business and my clients.

    Last edited by Tom Mcdonald; 09-24-2010 at 04:49 PM.

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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    I ALWAYS check for this very important safety device. But its not so much the fear of the stove/oven toppling over as it is a child tipping the range and with a pot of boiling whatever on the stove.

    There was a case a couple years ago here in Los Angeles where 3 kids were scalded over 50% of their bodies by a large pot of soup that tipped over when they stood on the door to check on it.

    I don't know about you guys, but I find them missing 99% of the time.


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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    I have never inspected for tip brackets. Just as I do not check appliances.

    Is it another liability we need to incur? Where does it stop? Are inspectors providing lists to clients with all the recalls for electrical products, appliances, computers, furnaces, lead containing venetian blinds, water heaters.... what standards are evolving as a result of going beyond the SOP? Do we exceed standards in one area while not in another?

    And just to add to the discussion...

    What is to stop a child from pulling out the lower draw in a high boy chest, and stepping on them and the high boy falling on top of the child?

    Or a child getting in the front loader washer, the dryer... are inspectors becoming baby sitters?
    This is minimum SOP in Texas law so it never has been an issue with me. Ranges around here typically transfer with the property while laundry equipment and furniture do not. Simple to inspect and at least 75% of the time the brackets are present now, likely due mostly to HI calling it out over the last several years. 10 years ago it was unusual to see the bracket properly installed.
    I don't check for recalled products but I would not hesitate to inform the consumer if I was aware of a recalled or defective product being present in the home.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    I have never inspected for tip brackets. Just as I do not check appliances.

    Is it another liability we need to incur? Where does it stop? Are inspectors providing lists to clients with all the recalls for electrical products, appliances, computers, furnaces, lead containing venetian blinds, water heaters.... what standards are evolving as a result of going beyond the SOP? Do we exceed standards in one area while not in another?

    And just to add to the discussion...

    What is to stop a child from pulling out the lower draw in a high boy chest, and stepping on them and the high boy falling on top of the child?

    Or a child getting in the front loader washer, the dryer... are inspectors becoming baby sitters?
    If it helps me save a child's life by spending a minute to check for the anti-tip, I guess it can stop after I've done so.

    It is actually one of the first things I inspect for once I enter the kitchen and get set up for doing my inspection. As Jim mentioned it is a requirement here in Texas in our SOP's to inspect to verify if it is present or not.

    My concern is why you don't think it is important?

    rick


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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Rick asked:
    My concern is why you don't think it is important?
    My concern lies with incurring risk not from testing but being obliged to a higher
    standard of care by calling out all safety issues.

    It also seems that our liability is increasing yearly above and beyond the industry SOP because now we are being looked upon as safety experts, amongst insurance advisers, septic and wells..

    Are inspectors now being looked upon by the public as safety experts?


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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    No safety expert needed, just make sure it is installed per the manufacturer specifications. Just like a water heater must have a TPR valve and drain. When you get right down to it EVERYTHING we do is safety related in one way or another.

    Jim Luttrall
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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    I have no anti-tip bracket as a default comment in my reports. If there is one place I delete the comment. That way I will never leave it out of a report.


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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Are inspectors now being looked upon by the public as safety experts?
    When you think about it, how many places would the public turn to. Outside of H.I.s who else would have the broad range of knowledge to do safety inspections? When I started out in H.I.ing several years ago I looked at far few things than I do now. In fact, I seldom check for gas leaks anymore - I'm too busy looking for stuff that now seem more important.

    I wouldn't be surprised Raymond if one day you start giving more attention to appliances. If you're like me, you'll hate that part of the inspection but appreciate its value.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    8 or 9 out of 10 stoves I check don't have the anti-tip installed. I'm always surprised when I actually find one. Realtors hate it when I bring this up, they somehow think its petty. My printer is printing right now. I'm going to keep a few copies of this article in my kit. It will be great to hand over the every smart ass realtor who says 'its no big deal'.
    Raymond, as much as I agree with some of your concerns and comments about us taking on more and more and various risks involved, that argument doesn't cut it when it comes to the anti-tip bracket. Every HI should be checking for it, every time. Not checking for the anti-tip brings up the question, 'are you also not checking the gas supply to the stove?'.

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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Keller View Post
    8 or 9 out of 10 stoves I check don't have the anti-tip installed. I'm always surprised when I actually find one. Realtors hate it when I bring this up, they somehow think its petty. My printer is printing right now. I'm going to keep a few copies of this article in my kit. It will be great to hand over the every smart ass realtor who says 'its no big deal'.
    Raymond, as much as I agree with some of your concerns and comments about us taking on more and more and various risks involved, that argument doesn't cut it when it comes to the anti-tip bracket. Every HI should be checking for it, every time. Not checking for the anti-tip brings up the question, 'are you also not checking the gas supply to the stove?'.

    Wow.....I would say that one out of ten homes I inspect do not have them. It is amazing how far certain items swing from one direction to another on inspection areas around certain states and parts of the country.


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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Some telling stats from CPSC regarding this subject.

    Voluntary Standards - Free Standing Kitchen Ranges

    I also found the following:

    "Quote: All GE, Hotpoint and RCA free-standing, slide-in and drop-in ranges manufactured since the Fall of 1988 include an anti-tip device. This bracket is essential to the safe operation of the range. It provides protection when excess force or weight is applied to an open oven door. (The bracket is not needed on hi/low ranges).

    The ranges we build meet all current Underwriters Laboratories (UL) safety standards for stability. Anti-tip devices became a UL requirement June 3, 1991.
    Our installation instructions require that ranges so equipped must be installed with the anti-tip device that is supplied with the range. On ranges manufactured October 1989 and later, GE has also placed a warning label on the edge of the open oven door.

    GE furnishes at no charge anti-tip devices with all free-standing, slide-in and drop-in ranges produced. Please call 1-800-626-8774 if you do not have a bracket for your range. We will ship you the bracket for your range at no charge. (GEAC Rep: See specific model installation instructions for installing the bracket. Fax or mail a copy to the consumer for installation assistance.) GE Answer Center does not offer install assistance for anti-tip brackets.)"



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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Rick asked:


    My concern lies with incurring risk not from testing but being obliged to a higher
    standard of care by calling out all safety issues.

    It also seems that our liability is increasing yearly above and beyond the industry SOP because now we are being looked upon as safety experts, amongst insurance advisers, septic and wells..

    Are inspectors now being looked upon by the public as safety experts?
    For comparison purposes of different SOP....here is the part of the NC SOP that covers appliances:

    .1115 BUILT-IN KITCHEN APPLIANCES
    (a) The home inspector shall inspect and operate the basic functions of the following kitchen appliances:
    (1) Permanently installed dishwasher(s), through a normal cycle;
    (2) Range(s), cook top(s), and permanently installed oven(s);
    (3) Trash compactor(s);
    (4) Garbage disposal(s);
    (5) Ventilation equipment or range hood(s); and
    (6) Permanently installed microwave oven(s).
    (b) The home inspector is not required to inspect:
    (1) Clocks, timers, self-cleaning oven functions, or thermostats for calibration or automatic operation;
    (2) Non built-in appliances; or
    (3) Refrigeration units.
    (c) The home inspector is not required to operate:
    (1) Appliances in use; or
    (2) Any appliance that is shut down or otherwise inoperable.



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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Brian, thanks a lot for posting that, especially since I'm located in St. Louis. It will kind of bring it home to my clients and realtors. I will say that a lot of the brackets designed for this purpose are very flimsy, and barely adequate for the purpose. I have seen ranges secured to the wall behind them by cables, heavy chain, and even kept from tipping with securely mounted brackets attached to the wall above the stove back.

    Raymond, I couldn't disagree with you more. Yes, like it or not, our clients look to us to help them learn about safety hazards present in their new homes. It's part of the reason why they hire us. I would think there is more liability attached to us by not looking for safety hazards, especially ones that all other inspectors do look for. But more important than that, I would hate to find out that some little kid got injured or killed because I wouldn't take the time to simply pull forward on the back of the kitchen range to see if it was safe for them to be around. I suppose you don't pull the ranges out enough to check for flexible brass tubing, shut-off valves, or properly mounted 240 VAC receptacles either?


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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    As I stated earlier, if you are checking for appliance safety you had better be calling out all the safety hazards associated with children and appliances which go with the sale of the house.

    Kitchen Appliance and Choking Hazard Safety Video €“ 5min.com

    How many call out gas fireplaces and the hot glass as a safety hazard to young toddlers?


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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Raymond
    As informative as that video is, none of the recommendations mentioned were required by the manufactures installation manual.

    This is not just about child safety, it's about reporting the improper installation of an appliance.
    As for the gas FP, if you know it to be improperly installed, then it should be included in the report.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    The gas fireplace is not defective, its a safety hazard by the inherent nature that no manufacture supplies a safety screen.

    As to manufactures recommendations, I would suggest to you that if the appliance is a concern for safety that manufactures recommendations would be the minimum and at some point a standard of care exists. The SOP do not require to check appliances for safety, and I do not test appliances unless specifically asked.

    What is being done by inspectors in the field when it comes to testing smoke alarms? It has a test button but how many test the test button?


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    The gas fireplace is not defective, its a safety hazard by the inherent nature that no manufacture supplies a safety screen.

    As to manufactures recommendations, I would suggest to you that if the appliance is a concern for safety that manufactures recommendations would be the minimum and at some point a standard of care exists. The SOP do not require to check appliances for safety, and I do not test appliances unless specifically asked.

    What is being done by inspectors in the field when it comes to testing smoke alarms? It has a test button but how many test the test button?
    Everyone. Always have. As far as the range goes, pull up on the back of it. It takes a half second and you will know if it has an anti tipping device. Or simply slide it out a hair and look down. That takes about 10 seconds.


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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    I have to say Raymond you seem to be digging yourself a deeper hole here. I just don't get it. Now we find out you don't push the test button on the smoke. I push the button on all of them, except those few that can't even be reached with assistance. Takes a few seconds, makes the client happy, etc. I've found quite a few that didn't work or had no battery. On the carbon, also found quite a few with no battery, especially the ones outside of the furnace/water tank closet with lousy flue piping.
    I understand you are concerned with exceeding the SOP or potential liability. Think of the greater potential liability of not checking. Initial move-in into a new house is one of those 'critical mass' times when things can really go wrong. Lots of people, boxes, new owners aren't familiar with the house yet, etc. Do you really want to watch the morning news and find out that your clients didn't make it out of the house because the smoke detector had no battery? How do you think that will fly?
    I have clients ask me to test things sometimes and I tell them no. Did a $3.2 mil house not long ago for a repeat customer. They wanted me to run the diesel generator backup system, I said No. Don't know enough about it to take the chance or liability.
    Testing a smoke or anti-tip, gotta do it Raymond. Sorry for busting your b----. BTW I don't think you've answered whether you are checking the gas or electric line for the stove? Ready to dig that hole a little deeper?

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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    As to testing smoke alarms there seems to mixed opinion from inspectors who test or do not test. I know that because I have had this conversation on other forums. However I do mention the absence of smoke and CO detectors.

    As to the stove issue, many people take their stoves with them up here as it is not considered a chattel. Again having spoke to other inspectors there seems to be mixed opinion on checking for anti tipping.

    Going back to the liability issue, I don't see how you can check for one safety item and not other safety issues as mentioned in the video, given that there are a myriad of safety concerns within kitchens, laundry, lead paint, venetian blind cords, electrical outlets...

    Are inspectors testing TPR valves? I assume not given the propensity for leakage from the valve not resetting.

    Do you check water temperature from hot water heater?

    Are inspectors testing LCD tv's mounted on the wall for secure attachment if its staying with house?

    Or how about appliances? What are inspectors saying about the ability of a child locking himself in the front load washer, dryer?

    Again the liability is out there and I appreciate our clients safety but at some point we cannot be liable for every conceivable safety concern in the house... not to put to fine a point on the issue.


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    Question Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Maybe a poll on the subject would be a good idea? I am not sure how to do that on this forum, is there such a function?


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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    You are right Raymond, we cannot check for every possible safety issue in a home. It just isn't feasible during a normal HI. However, the questions you are posing are just an excuse for not doing some of the basics. At this point, I really have to ask, are you doing checkbox reports?
    - only a newbie would check a TPR, once you pull that trigger it will probably always leak
    - since I check to see if the hot/cold are on the proper sides ... if the hot temp seems abnormally high I will take a temp reading.
    - if a client tells me the wall hung TV is staying, Yes I will look behind it and see if the bracket is pulling away or if the drywall is bulging.
    - your appliance comment is just smoke to cloud the issues
    Every inspector should do whatever inspection they are comfortable with. Many of us may not agree on the specifics and that's fine. If liability is your real concern then you really should be checking some of these things. It's the client who later thinks you didn't do enough that will come back on you. The client who watched you do a thorough inspection is far less likely to think that X bad occurrence is something YOU should be liable for.
    You still haven't answered whether you check the gas or electric connections on the stove. At this point my guess is, No. I checked one recently, gas was leaking.

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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Markus

    You were doing fine until you jumped to conclusions, particularly about the report type I use. And just to clarify about reports I offer my clients two types of report one is the Carson Dunlop which I do not consider to be a 'checklist' and a computer generated report which cost more.

    I will reiterate I do not test appliances and I am totally comfortable with the inspection I provide and have since 1991.


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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    I think your blurring the line between "safety issue" and "installation issue".

    Would you, Raymond, call out a garage door opener held to the ceiling with bungee cords instead of nuts & bolts? Sure, it's a "safety issue", but it's improperly installed.

    If you don't inspect appliances, fine, don't inspect them. In many areas, that's the status quo.

    But I think you can see the difference between hot fireplace glass and an appliance installation that is incomplete.

    Dom.


  31. #31
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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Markus

    You were doing fine until you jumped to conclusions, particularly about the report type I use. And just to clarify about reports I offer my clients two types of report one is the Carson Dunlop which I do not consider to be a 'checklist' and a computer generated report which cost more.

    I will reiterate I do not test appliances and I am totally comfortable with the inspection I provide and have since 1991.
    In NC you are required to inspect appliances. Just curious if your area requires a license and has a SOP that you are required to follow?


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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    James

    There is no licencing in Ontario, but inspectors including myself follow ASHI SOP's.

    Of three inspectors I have talked to over the last two day, they do not inspect for tip brackets, nor do they inspect appliances, and two of those inspectors raised the same questions as I did about other safety concerns in the kitchen.


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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    A good motto

    "The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely. "

    Wisely - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary
    a : characterized by wisdom : marked by deep understanding, keen discernment, and a capacity for sound judgment
    b : exercising or showing sound judgment : prudent <a wise investor>

    wisely - definition of wisely by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.
    1. Having the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting; sagacious: a wise leader.
    2. a. Exhibiting common sense; prudent:

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    James

    There is no licensing in Ontario, but inspectors including myself follow ASHI SOP's.

    Of three inspectors I have talked to over the last two day, they do not inspect for tip brackets, nor do they inspect appliances, and two of those inspectors raised the same questions as I did about other safety concerns in the kitchen.
    Thanks for the info. I guess I am fortunate that my state has a SOP to follow for guidance. I would be deficient if I didn't inspect the anti-tip.


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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Not only am I an inspector I also have rental property, so this was close to home.
    Along the same line I offer advice to several landlords I know.
    I sent every one of them an email with the link about this.
    Hopefully this could help prevent a tragic event.
    I think I'll check all of my properties, making sure I did not overlook one.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: Child's death from tipping stove leads to lawsuit - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    James

    There is no licencing in Ontario, but inspectors including myself follow ASHI SOP's.

    Of three inspectors I have talked to over the last two day, they do not inspect for tip brackets, nor do they inspect appliances, and two of those inspectors raised the same questions as I did about other safety concerns in the kitchen.
    We are licensed in BC and we are not required to inspect appliances. I check them over and report what's there, but make it clear they were not "inspected", if that makes any sense.

    However, I see no reason to balk at checking for the anti-tip bracket and reporting it missing as is usually the case. "FYI, this is a potential hazard for children". If that one action prevents one accident to an unsuspecting kid, it's worth it.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

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