Coronavirus: “Serious concerns” over Muswell Hill construction workers as developer promises “corrective action”

PUBLISHED: 14:31 30 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:04 30 March 2020

Some construction workers are faced with contracting coronavirus - or going without pay. Picture: John Mathias

Some construction workers are faced with contracting coronavirus - or going without pay. Picture: John Mathias

John Mathias

The developer of the old Coppetts Wood Hospital in Muswell Hill has promised “corrective action without delay” after groups of construction workers were pictured next to each other on-site.

Catalyst Housing said it employed Catalyst Housing said it employed "experienced contractors" responsible for site safety. Picture: John Mathias

Catalyst Housing said “serious concerns” had been raised after the Ham&High presented it with photos of more than ten workers within touching distance, in clear breach of current social distancing measures.

The redevelopment of Coppetts Wood Hospital - unused since 2008 - was approved three years ago, but the works for 80 new homes are yet to complete.

A Catalyst Housing spokesperson said: “This photograph raised serious concerns and having seen it we spoke immediately with the contractor’s managing director to ensure that corrective action is taken without delay, and we have been assured accordingly.”

Catalyst Housing said it was adhering to government guidelines after the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan last week urged Whitehall to ban all “non-essential” construction work.

Work continues at the former Coppetts Wood Hospital. Picture: John MathiasWork continues at the former Coppetts Wood Hospital. Picture: John Mathias

With more than 32,000 homes across London and the Home Counties, Catalyst Housing said it appointed “experienced contractors” who were responsible for site safety.

A spokesperson for Rydon, the site contractor, said it “regularly monitored” its health and safety measures, adding: “We take the health and wellbeing of our staff and sub-contractors seriously and we are deploying a number of further steps to enforce safe social distancing.”

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, some construction workers whose firms continue to operate have been faced with putting their families at risk of contracting the virus - or having no income.

Oliver Connell & Son, whose manual workers were pictured on-site, said the “health, safety and welfare” of its staff “came first”.

A spokesperson said: “We have fully tried to adhere to the government guidelines and operate safely with the two metre distance rule forming the main driver of our operations.

“After close review, we believe this to be impractical at this project.

“With that in mind, we have taken it upon ourselves to significantly reduce our workforce on site, in order to protect our employees and enable ‘safe social distancing’ to take place.”

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