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Ice still hazardous as temperatures rise

Although freezing temperatures have given way to warmer ones, ice and snow-related safety concerns continue.

Facilities, Operations and Development did not say whether any areas of campus are more prone to falling ice and snow than others, but certain buildings are more susceptible because of their design, said Peter Calamari, the interim director for FOD Operations, in an e-mail.

“Certain buildings, generally ones with steep pitch roofs and smaller gutters are more inclined to have issues with icicles and, to a lesser extent, falling snow,” Calamari said.

Buildings on campus with roofs that acould be considered steep include Orton Hall and Enarson Hall.

Calamari said problem areas are generally identified through building inspections or through the observation of either FOD staff or building occupants.

Areas surrounded by trees could also be hazardous as icicles and snow might fall off tree branches, according to an FOD safety memo.

FOD advised in the memo that people should not attempt to remove the hanging snow and ice themselves but instead report the problems to FOD.

When safety issues are identified, the area beneath the hazard is generally blocked off to prevent injuries. In rare cases, FOD uses a lift truck to knock large icicles off of overhangs, Calamari said.

People should be aware of overhangs as these are usually one of the biggest problems, said Dr. Mark Moseley, who works in emergency medicine at the OSU Medical Center.

Moseley said while injuries due to ice and snow are not usually a huge problem, people should still be cautious when walking outside in the winter.

“I think it’s a fairly rare thing,” Moseley said. “But it is, I guess, something people should be aware of.”

With the recent ice storm, however, injuries due to falls have been quite common this year, Moseley said.

“We’ve seen a large volume of falls,” Moseley said, though he did not know the exact number of people the OSU Medical Center had seen so far this year.

The Lantern reported that about 45 people were treated at the medical center Feb. 1 and about 50 people on Feb. 2 for ice-related injuries.

Moseley said he does not expect to see any drastic changes in the volume of falls in the near future, even as the temperatures are expected to warm up in the coming days.

Ariana Hoet, a fourth-year in psychology, said she’s never really been in an area where she doesn’t have a choice but to walk under the overhangs so she generally just avoids them. She also said she doesn’t have any friends or know anyone who has been injured because of falling ice or snow.

“I feel like my concern was when there was ice on the ground. I don’t really worry about icicles because I just don’t walk under them,” Hoet said.

Although he thinks the number of falls will probably stay consistent, Moseley thinks the worst of the safety concerns due to snow and ice are probably over.

Still, FOD is taking measures to reduce the risk of injury from melting ice and snow, Calamari said.

Calamari said one of the main ways FOD tries to help reduce the risk is by increasing awareness about the problem.

“Staff awareness is important,” Calamari said. He also said communicating with the campus community about the risks associated with melting ice and snow can be helpful.

Although Calamari said there are rare occasions in which the costs of preventative measures can be expensive, “additional costs for this type of problem are minimal,” he said.

Still, FOD is concerned about the safety of students, faculty and staff and advises people to be aware of the problem as the temperatures continue to rise.

According to Weather.com, the high temperature is forecasted to be more than 50 degrees today, Thursday and Friday. 

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