Summer Risks You Can Mitigate

Summer time is a busy time of year. While many are looking forward to taking summer vacations, organizations are conducting seasonal work and preparing for the risks that summertime heat brings. How prepared are you for the growing frequency of heat-related weather events? 

Check out the below risk management articles for practical tips to help you keep your employees safe and healthy this summer.

square-powerlineMitigating Heat-Related Injuries

As one might imagine, extreme heat can lead to an increase in workplace injuries. According to a recent study by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, hot days do not just mean more cases of heat exhaustion. Heat stress on the body also leads to a greater incidence of falls and vehicle or machinery mishandling due to loss of concentration. These incidents lead to an additional 20,000 workplace injuries each year in California alone1

For those that work for power utilities and outside in the elements, there is a greater risk of heat stress. Crews work in extreme heat, high humidity and direct sunlight. Most utility workers must perform heavy physical labour while wearing mandatory fire-resistant clothing - which only makes such working conditions hotter. 

Employers must take every reasonable precaution in these circumstances to protect workers. This may include preventing, managing, and reducing heat stress at work by implementing work practice controls.

This article from the Risk Management Magazine outlines how heat stress happens, how employers can monitor heat health and how to prevent heat risk for workers. 

300x300-wildfire-1Recognizing Wildfire Season Risks

Wildfires are natural and annual occurrences. Despite the perception that wildfires only burn in late summer/early fall, major events have occurred in early spring, after the snow, but before 'green up.' One example is the Fort McMurray Wildfire in May 2016.

Canada records an average of 8,300 wildfires annually, with half of the cases caused by lightning and the other half by humans providing the igniting spark. 

Wildland and urban interface conditions are characterized by topographical features, vegetation and fuel types, local weather conditions, and prevailing winds. When combined, the potential for buildings to ignite from flames and/or firebrands of a wildland fire are high. Also known as flying embers, they are the primary cause of fire spreading. As conditions become dryer and more people live in high-risk areas, the fires are getting bigger, more severe and costlier.

The recent MEARIE Conference held the session, Cutting Through the Myths of Forest Fires in Canada, presented by Glenn McGillivray, Managing Director, ICLR Adjunct Professor, Disaster & Emergency Management, York University.

Here are some highlights from his presentation:

    • Canada is one of the most forested countries in the world, and wildfires are common
    • Lightning causes about half of all wildland fires, with humans causing the other half
    • More and larger fires are forecasted for the future
    • Fire spread is mainly based on flying embers from wildfires
    • Maintaining property premises and reducing the amount of flammable materials near buildings (e.g., fences abutting onto buildings, dry shrubbery, wood piles near buildings, etc.) is an important tactic to mitigate fire risk
    • ICLR provides free loss control information
wildfires in ontario

Is Your Company Operating in the Ontario Fire Region? 

Ontario Regulation 207/96 Outdoor Fires was amended to include electrical power generation and utilities. 

Companies operating in Ontario's Fire Region (right) are required to review their operations for fire risk and have fire prevention plans, training and equipment in place.

Fire season generally runs from April to October and peaks from May to August. To be prepared, your best protection against loss, damage or injury is prevention and mitigation. The primary focus needs to be on vegetation management, employee training and swift incident response practices2. Wildfires will always happen, and it is part of our lives. Identifying best practices and investing in ways to reduce risk are essential to managing the risks wildland fires pose better. 

Ontario Fire Region Image: Source:

square-sunburstSummer Students & Interns – Insurance Considerations

Summer vacations are underway and many companies have hired students for internships, co-op placements, apprenticeships and more. The prospect of hiring a student often raises questions about liability and vehicle insurance; and you may wonder whether your MEARIE insurance provides coverage for them or not. 

There are different types of summer students/interns and each type of student will have their own terms or conditions that affect your insurance coverage. Some details to consider and questions to ask, such as:

    • Are they a high school student?
    • Are they a college/university student?
    • Are they part of a cooperative education, learning program, or job shadowing program?
    • Will they be operating company equipment or vehicles?

Learn more about what this can mean for you as you take that step to being an industry leader for future generations.

Access The MEARIE Group's Reciprocal Newsletters for other Risk Management tips.

square-summer-festivalsPreparing for Summer Festivals

Summer festivals, events and more are returning to Ontario this year. With lifting restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic, your organization and others may be gearing up to represent, sponsor or exhibit at events this year.  

Your parking lot might be used as a checkpoint for a marathon, bike ride or checkpoint for a fundraising event. Your organization may wish to participate or organize these kinds of special events or event staff appreciation events. Know the risks to your organization for injuries that occur on your property and/or under your supervision. Understand what your MEARIE liability policy covers.

Learn more about summer festival considerations so you, your employees, and the community in which you operate can enjoy summer safely and risk free.

Access The MEARIE Group's Reciprocal Newsletters for other Risk Management tips.


1Lehmann, Heidi E. (September 1, 2021). Risk Management Magazine - Protecting workers in extreme heat. Retrieved June 22, 2022, from

2Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources & Forestry of Ontario. (March 14, 2022). Forest Fires. Retrieved July 6, 2022, from

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