Icy Swedish rooftops could be deadly

The Great Chill enveloping Northern Europe shows signs of lessening, but Sweden faces another type of problem. Far too much snow and ice on rooftops must be removed immediately–and there are laws about this. But there aren’t enough skilled roof cleaners to do the job, reports the national daily Dagens Nyheter.

Snow-laden rooftops on old buildings, in particular, pose dangers. Chunks of ice or icicles can simply slide suddenly onto sidewalks and passersby. The newspaper notes that in 2001 a 14-year-old boy was killed in Stockholm when struck by an ice block.

Even though there are specialized companies for shoveling rooftops, there’s a shortage of skilled cleaners, according to Bengt Wånggren, development manager at the Swedish Real Estate Owners Association (Sveriges Fastighetsägare).

Amateurs shouldn’t attempt to do the job, “which itself can be dangerous,” said Joel Wennerström from a company called Rope Access. “There’s a risk they’ll end up being speared by an icicle.”

None of which offers much solace for pedestrians. The best advice is to steer somewhat clear of older multistory buildings for the time being.

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