Edinburgh construction site hit by Covid outbreak with 50 sent home

Edinburgh construction site is hit with Covid outbreak as 11 builders test positive and 50 self-isolate after workers claimed social distancing was ‘non existent’

  • In total 50 workers at Edinburgh St James Quarter construction site are isolating
  • At least 11 people tested positive for Covid amid an outbreak on the building site
  • It comes amid allegations that social distancing and PPE rules were not followed 
  • Main contractor Laing O’Rourke have defended their on-site safety measures

A construction site has been hit by a covid outbreak which has forced 50 workers sent home to self isolate. 

Dozens of staff were sent home from the St James Quarter project site in Edinburgh after 11 confirmed Covid cases were confirmed.

Another 39 people were also sent home to self-isolate after they were identified as close contacts by Test and Protect.

The outbreak comes amid allegations by critics that social distancing was ‘non existent’ at the workplace.   

A Covid outbreak at the St James Quarter construction site in Edinburgh has seen 11 confirmed cases of the virus and forced 39 people to self-isolate

The outbreak comes amid allegations that social distancing was ‘non existent’ at the workplace. PIctured: Impression of the completed project

It has forced the main site contractor to defend their safety measures and inisist they have made ‘numerous changes’ to make the site Covid secure.

The project, a redevelopment of a shopping centre, has around 1,000 workers operating on site.  

The site, which will have food courts and leisure facilities, is due to open in the spring. 

Last month a construction worker raised concerns coronavirus regulations around the use of masks, social distancing and staff ‘bubbles’ were being ignored. 

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the worker said: ‘There are around 12 or 13 guys huddled around talking, with no mask whatsoever. This is consistent throughout the whole site.

‘We don’t stay in our own work bubbles, so could potentially be in close contact with hundreds of different households every day.

‘There is very minimal hand sanitising points on site as well and poor one way systems in place that nobody follows.

‘We were told to keep our distance and wear a mask all day. If you were caught, you would be red carded and off site.

The project, a redevelopment of a shopping centre, will have food courts and leisure facilities. Pictured: Artists impression of the St James Centre redevelopment

The main contractor behind the project, which is is due to be completed in the Spring, has defended its Covid safety measures

‘Yet, there is nobody enforcing these rules and still people not distancing, wearing masks, and large groups together pretty much on top of each other.’

It forced Laing O’Rourke, the main contractor, to defend their safety measures. 

A spokesman for Laing O’Rourke said: ‘The safety of our workforce is our priority.

‘Since the start of the pandemic we have focused on adapting our sites, making numerous changes to make them Covid secure, amending procedures that go beyond Scottish guidance for construction activities.

‘The project has been inspected by national statutory bodies, Scottish Government and council representatives who have confirmed the effectiveness of the measures.

‘Where an individual tests positive, we ensure they follow national guidance and self-isolate immediately.

‘We also move expediently to implement track and protect procedures.

‘The contacts of anyone who has tested positive are required to leave the project and isolate.

‘Work in the zone in which the individuals who tested positive were working is then paused to enable the area to be deep cleaned before work resumes safely.’ 

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