Falling Ice Dangers in NYC

Getting anywhere after a snowstorm in New York has always been quite treacherous. Between the mountains of snow banks and the seemingly endless slush puddles that end with soggy socks and a cold heart, it feels like scanning for hazards is a full-time job. With New York’s ever-expanding skyline, it’s time to look up towards one of the more unthought of concerns: falling ice.

Deaths and Injuries

As if the thought of falling ice isn’t terrifying enough, there have been reports of ice falling from the tops of Manhattan skyscrapers. In the US, there are on average 15 deaths per year due to icicle-related incidents, with many more injuries—this number rises to 100 deaths per year in Russia.

How are Icicles Created?

Icicles typically form when the outside temperature is below freezing and the sun is still shining through. The sun causes the snow on rooftops to begin to melt and roll off the building, as the drops fall they lose heat and begin to freeze again—the byproduct of this process creates icicles. In addition to the sun melting the snow, many buildings also experience icicles due to the buildings internal heater.

If you spot icicles on your home or workplace, the good news is that ridding your establishment of them is actually quite easy. Grab yourself a ladder and be sure that it’s secure (if possible, have someone assist you in holding the ladder). After securing yourself you may then grab an ice pick or chisel and gently break off the ice.

Be sure not to use too much force, as this may cause damage to your house and or yourself. If removing the problem yourself doesn’t sound like something you feel safe doing, we recommend isolating the area beneath the icicles until they pass.


While there may be no specific set of guidelines requiring property owners to clear ice off of their establishments, New York’s Department of Building requires that “a building’s exterior walls and appurtenances thereof shall be maintained in a safe condition.”

However, when it comes to prevention, the only real answer is to modify existing structures or to have additional add-ons—both come at an expense that most property owners opt out of paying.

Although there isn’t strict enforcement on these regulations, any owner who isn’t in compliance with these guidelines may be liable—should anything happen on their property due to their negligence. We work hard to help our clients seek justice when they were injured wrongly due to unforeseen circumstances.

Call our firm today to get started.

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