Icicle hazards: What you need to know to stay safe this winter

  • Published
  • 75th Air Base Wing Safety Office

Icicles are a common sight during winter, but they can pose a serious threat to people’s safety. With the current weather cycle of cold, wet nights and warmer-than-usual days, icicles are expected to form and grow in size. While icicles are rarely sharp or large enough to impale a person, they can still cause bruises, cuts, and broken bones when they fall. In fact, about 15 people are killed by icicles annually in the United States.

To stay safe, it is important to remove icicles over doors and walkways. Use a long pole to tap icicles and get them to fall. Hitting them hard may damage the facility or home, so it is important to use good ergonomics and not overreach. It is also recommended to get them while they are small and easily removed. If possible, avoid walkways with large icicles.

In 2017, a man was killed in Park City, Utah, when a 700-pound chunk of ice fell from a roof. To prevent such accidents, consider calling in experienced professionals to remove ice buildup or icicles that are extraordinarily large. Ladders are extremely dangerous because the ground is slippery and creates unstable conditions. There can be snow and ice buildup on the rungs and on the bottoms of your shoes. Often you just don’t know what’s on the ledge that you’re leaning the ladder against. There could be icicles, or ice, the ledge could break, or the ladder could slip or move.

Stay safe and enjoy the winter season.

(This article was generated with the assistance of an AI language model.)