ASHWOOD Scotland has confirmed it has closed all 10 of its construction sites and is calling for ‘urgent action’ from other construction businesses to follow suit.
The Bathgate-headquartered contractor suspended site-based operations on Tuesday, resulting in 75 head office staff and site managers being told to work from home.
The move followed calls from Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for all ‘non-essential’ workers to work from home.
Ashwood claimed this message has since been ‘confused’ after UK health secretary Matt Hancock said anyone who could not do their job from home should go to work to ‘keep the country running’, whilst cabinet office minister Michael Gove said construction workers could go to work.
“What is the difference between construction workers operating in close proximity to each other on a new hospital project, to construction workers working on an office block or university facility? None whatsoever,” said Ashwood MD Archie Meikle.
“If someone was to get seriously injured in a workplace accident and then needed intensive care treatment, it would only put unnecessary strain on our already overworked NHS. Our priority is the health and safety of our staff, site managers and clients. This is the responsible thing to do and I would urge other contractors and housebuilders to follow suit.”
Current Ashwood projects include refurbishing three primary schools for City of Edinburgh Council, construction of a new giraffe enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo, and the restoration of West Register House in Edinburgh’s Charlotte Square.
“It’s difficult enough for the owners of SMEs to support staff, give them direction, leadership and keep them calm without having to deal with the added burden of mixed messages from the politicians,” Mr Meikle added.