Worker’s fears over Covid safety at windfarm construction site

Campbeltown Courier opinion.

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But company defends its measures at Beinn an Tuirc Three Windfarm

A worker at the Beinn an Tuirc Three Windfarm construction site has voiced his concerns about the number of staff flouting Covid-19 regulations.

The man, who wished to remain anonymous, said he has ‘become weary’ at the thought of going to work because of the number of staff breaking the social distancing and sanitising rules which are in place.

His said that although rules are adhered to when vehicles are off site – something he describes as ‘a show for the public’ – it is a different story on site, with pickups which should only have a driver and one passenger being filled with five people and buses which should contain no more than five passengers carrying up to 12 people, most of whom are not wearing face coverings.

He added there are often more than 40 workers in the canteen and, although hand sanitiser is provided, very few people use it.

‘If someone brings Covid to the site, it’s going to go through the place like wildfire,’ he said. ‘They’re kidding themselves if they think people are sticking to the rules.’

He said the issue has been highlighted to health and safety staff but he described the response as ‘lackadaisical’.

The man said there are workers from Scotland, England and Wales at the site, but the vast majority come from the Republic of Ireland, where main contractor Roadbridge is based.

”The workers have to go to the shops, they’re at the pub, they’re staying at bed and breakfasts, so they pose a huge risk to the community,’ he said. ‘It could be widespread if it goes round the site. It could have a massive impact on Campbeltown and Kintyre.’

A spokesperson for ScottishPower Renewables, the company behind the windfarm, said there are 130 staff working across the 2,305 hectare site, and told the Courier: ‘The safety, health and well-being of local people and staff on site has been at the forefront of our efforts since we resumed work on Beinn an Tuirc Three in May.

‘We continue to work closely with contractors, colleagues and community representatives to ensure the extraordinary measures we put in place at the start are working as they should.

‘These include temperature testing; health questionnaires; the creation of ‘family units’ for living, working and travel; sanitising stations; virtual inductions; staggered start/finish/break times; a robust cleaning regime and regular updates about the government guidance and the protocols to be followed, which have moved on since we first got back to work.

‘We’re confident we have suitably robust and effective working arrangements in place and continue to monitor the situation closely. We’re unaware of any concerns regarding compliance and disappointed any concerns have not been raised with us directly.

‘As a responsible business, we take this very seriously and will continue to work with our partners to ensure the extensive arrangements we have in place are followed precisely so our site is Covid-secure, we can all stay safe and protect others and we can deliver this important green energy project for the people and communities of Kintyre.’

The Courier also contacted Roadbridge for comment.