Glen Smethurst of Van Isle Paint has learned a lot while developing safe protocols for their employees and the local communities where they work.
The painting company has served Vancouver Island for more than two decades in commercial, residential and strata buildings, but adapting to a global pandemic took some creativity. Now that everyone’s settled into the new normal, the team at Van Isle Paint wants to share what they’ve learned, in the hopes that it will help other businesses.
“We want to do our part to help other people, any way we can,” Smethurst says.
- Limiting movement off the job site: At Van Isle Paint, all movement off the job site is regulated by senior staff, and employees are encouraged to bring a lunch from home to limit the amount of traffic in the community. “A lot of our painters would pop into the local convenience store to grab a bite to eat every day, but we’re encouraging them to plan ahead and make fewer little trips,” Smethurst says. Most workers now bring food from home and take breaks in their personal vehicles to avoid unnecessary physical contact.
- Sharing ISN’T caring: Smethurst noticed small habits that needed adjustments for the physical-distancing era. Smokers who used to share cigarettes are now reminded to buy their own pack, and extra efforts are made to keep butts contained.
- Extra uniforms: “We get all our work uniforms from Elite Promotions in Victoria, and we put in an order for all-new t-shirts and hoodies when the pandemic hit,” Smethurst says. Van Isle Paint emphasized fresh work clothes even before the COVID-19 pandemic, as a way of reinforcing a professional mindset and keeping sites safe.
- Work vehicles: With multiple drivers and lots of gear, the Van Isle Paint vehicle fleet needs extra care to stay clean. Smethurst took every work van to CJ’s Auto Bling for deep cleaning, and built kits for the back of each van with a first-aid kit, hand sanitizer, and a spray bottle of rubbing alcohol to sanitize the steering wheel and other surfaces. “It’s not just about catching COVID-19, it’s also about keeping our immune systems healthy for the long run.”
- Client meetings: Meetings with clients are more structured, and take place outside where possible. For quotes on interior work, Van Isle Paint is following the infection control policy they first learned when painting inside Royal Jubilee Hospital. Foot booties, masks, a full paint suit, and other measures keep both employees and clients safe.
Van Isle Paint is also working with the Victoria Hospital Foundation to raise money during their critical care funding drive.
“We want to do what we can to support local hospitals and front-line workers,” Smethurst says.
For more information about Van Isle Paint, call