BLOG NUMBER 11.64
Take Steps to Prevent Serious Injuries
Most people have seen the movie “A Christmas Story” when young Ralphie almost “puts his eye out” with his BB gun and blames it on an icicle. It was a funny scene, but icicles are dangerous in ways you may not think about.
When most people see icicles that commonly form along the eaves of roofs and dangle precariously from tree limbs, they just alter their course so they don’t drive or walk under the menacing missiles. But if you are a property owner you should be aware of the potential danger and liability if someone is hurt.
The chance of an individual being killed by a falling icicle are relatively low in the U.S. and statistics are sketchy about exact numbers. For some reason Russia claims over 1000 deaths per year from falling icicles, but if you watch dash-cam videos from Russia you know that mayhem and mishaps seem to follow people everywhere in that calamitous country.
Icicles are more likely to fall and then become dangerous to pedestrians. Either people trip on them, or the icicles melt and then reform as very slippery patches of ice that cannot be easily seen. Slipping on ice statistics are available and they are disturbing. Tens of thousands of people injured each year and millions of dollars in medical bills.
Any way you look at it icicles are a menace, but just knocking the icicles off the roof may not be the best course of action. Icicles on the edge of the roof are formed when snow melts into water, runs downward and re-freezes. They need to be inspected as quickly as possible by capable and experienced snow and ice removal experts because the icicles might actually prevent more water from falling onto a sidewalk where it becomes really dangerous. There is no quick fix.
Snow and Ice Safety is a Commitment
The prudent thing to do if you have icicles hanging off your roof or trees is to have a thorough inspection and risk assessment of your property performed. You should have an “action plan” in place at the start of every winter season that includes a checklist for daily duties including shoveling, salting, and looking out for any hazardous conditions.
Ice and Snow Consultant and Expert Witness
Swenson Consulting is the leading snow and ice safety authority in the nation, and has advised major corporations and property management companies on how to limit liability. A phone call to (816) 564-9131 will put you in touch with Mr. Jeremy Swenson and he can advise you on the best course of action for your individual situation.
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