Remove icicles in order to avoid liability - Diamond and Diamond Lawyers
  • Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Remove icicles in order to avoid liability

#AskSandraZisckind

Slippery sidewalks and roads are not the only risks winter weather brings for Ontario residents. Most people have become accustomed to the dangers snow and ice pose and take extra care when walking over patches of snow or ice. While people are focusing their attention to what is beneath their feet, another winter danger could be looming overhead.

Icicles can be pretty to look at but deadly when they fall

You see them hanging from homes and commercial buildings. Snow melting on rooftops is supposed to drain off before it refreezes and becomes ice. If a ridge of ice blocks the water from draining into roofline gutters, the water builds up and eventually refreezes. The water buildup can cause damage to the building by seeping into interior walls and ceilings. A byproduct of this buildup of water can be the formation of icicles.

Icicle formations can be visually spectacular, but warming temperatures, particular in the late winter and early spring, can cause huge chunks of ice to crash to the sidewalks, entryways and streets below where they harmlessly shatter into thousands of shards of ice. The falling ice can be the cause of serious injuries or death for a person standing beneath a chunk of solid ice plummeting from a rooftop.

An Ottawa man was seriously injured when a piece of ice weighing approximately 100 kilograms fell from a rooftop and hit him on the head. Property damage is common when icicles and chunks of ice crash down onto cars and other motor vehicles parked beneath them. A serious personal injury could result if ice falling from a bridge, overpass or other structure smashes through the windshield of a moving vehicle.

What makes falling ice even more dangerous is the lack of warning a passerby has of the impending danger. Falling ice is usually silent until it crashes into the ground or into a person or object below it. An icicle or piece of ice might appear to be intact and stable, but looks can be deceiving. Icicles and ice buildups are unpredictable and fall without warning.

Steps to take to keep your building safe

Ice buildup on rooftops could be caused by inadequate roof pitch that allows the water from melting ice to accumulate instead of running off. The water refreezes in colder afternoon or nighttime temperatures. Another cause of water buildup is ice dams forming at the edge of a sloped roof.

One method of combating ice accumulation without having your roof rebuilt to provide more pitch is a rake made specifically for removing snow from rooftops. The rakes extend to allow a homeowner standing on the ground to rake the snow off the roof before it begins to melt and cause a buildup of water.

A solution to ice dams caused by snow melting on warmer sections of a roof and refreezing near the edges where the surface is colder is a device that heats the colder sections of the roof. Known as a heat trace, the device is a wire that heats up when plugged into an electrical outlet and can be extended across the area of the roof where ice accumulates.

Trusted personal injury lawyers

The personal injury lawyers at Diamond & Diamond have years of experience successfully handling compensation claims on behalf of people injured through the negligence or careless conduct of property owners. Learn more about how we can help by contacting our 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or by visiting our website to speak to someone now about your claim. Consultations are free, and we have offices located throughout Ontario.

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