Council chiefs have defended pandemic safety measures at skip sites in Perth and Kinross after a refuse worker died after contracting coronavirus.
The employee, who was in his late 50s, worked at the North Forr centre in Crieff. He was taken to Ninewells Hospital after falling ill with the virus at the New Year.
He had worked for the local authority for nearly three decades, and was described as a “valued colleague”.
In the weeks leading up to his death on Monday night, concerns had been raised to Perth and Kinross Council about a lack of PPE and deep cleaning at some of the region’s depots.
Complaints were made that bin lorry crews and recycling centre staff were not provided with enough facemasks. It was claimed that some employees were instead told to use hi-viz neck tubes – similar to buffs worn by cyclists – which were kept in open boxes in rooms used by multiple staff.
The Courier understands that after concerns were raised about an apparent lack of PPE, boxes of facemasks were delivered to crews the following day.
Complaints were also made about an apparent lack of deep-cleaning.
Perth and Kinross Council has insisted that its safety measures are “robust” and follow guidelines.
A spokeswoman said: “It is with great sadness that we can confirm that a worker, based at the North Forr depot in Crieff passed away yesterday. They worked for the council for almost 27 years and was a valued colleague both within his team and the wider service.
“We offer our sincere condolences to their family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time and know how much they will be missed. Support has been made available for any members of staff based at the North Forr Depot who need it during this difficult time.”
She added: “The health, safety and wellbeing of all our staff is of the upmost importance and robust measures are in place to guard against the spread of Covid-19 while our workers carry out vital essential services.”
The procedures, the spokeswoman said, are regularly reviewed by management, staff and trade unions and meet all Scottish Government guidelines. “We remain confident that our procedures are effective in preventing transmission of the virus and we will continue to review and monitor these, with our staff, to ensure they remain confident and supported in undertaking their work,” she said.
“Any staff who have concerns should raise them with their line manager and we will address them directly to provide ongoing reassurance.”
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