April 16, 2020

If there is a bright side to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bay Hill Contracting seems to have found it. And it’s not just because the company specializes in lighting.

“We’ve actually discovered better ways to do things by virtue of the constraints that have been put on us,” said Bay Hill partner Gord Myren.

Bay Hill installs and upgrades street lights, traffic signals, highway signs, high mast lighting, as well as intelligent transportation and power systems. Motorists can see the company’s vast portfolio of work when they drive over the Port Mann, Golden Ears, Pitt River and Ironworkers Memorial bridges, and on streets and highways from Hope to Pemberton.

And, when it’s safe to travel by plane again, you’ll also see Bay Hill’s work on the taxiways and runways at YVR.

Bay Hill employs members of LiUNA Local 1611 and IBEW Local 213.

When B.C. public health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry declared a public health emergency due to COVID-19 on March 17, Bay Hill was already in the process of implementing work processes that aligned with best practices.

“We’ve spent a lot of time developing our in-house app that we nicknamed ‘the BUD,’ which handles everything from safety to time cards to invoicing,” says Myren. “In times like these the benefits of going digital are clear.”

In the face of COVID-19, foremen are now able to provide sign-off on behalf of other workers on a single electronic device like an iPad, eliminating the sharing of pens, paper and mobile devices.

Myren says Bay Hill also immediately developed a company policy informed by public health orders, government recommendations and WorkSafeBC health and safety regulations. For example:

  • Community tools, vans and common areas are sanitized daily and a log is kept of each cleaning.
  • Jobs that are either difficult or impossible to complete while maintaining a physical distance of two metres have been postponed or eliminated.
  • Workers carry hand sanitizer produced by a local distillery.
  • Office staff have the ability to work remotely.

Like so many other construction contractors, Bay Hill realized site sanitation was the biggest priority, with hand-sanitizer in deep demand and short supply. Bay Hill contracted Surrey-based Dragon Mist Distillery to produce an initial 20 gallons of 70-per-cent alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Workers were all given their own supply, with five gallons on reserve at all times.

Perhaps most importantly, says Myren, Bay Hill checked in with workers to ensure they felt safe.

“We are primarily a subcontractor,” Myren explains. “If anyone enters a site and they aren’t comfortable with how health and safety is being managed, they can refuse unsafe work. We’re trying to make everything as safe as possible, and we aren’t going to judge anyone who feels unsafe. We’re all navigating this for the first time together and we want to do our best as an employer and a contractor.”