Letters / PR statements at odds with reality?

Tingwall, Whiteness and Weisdale Community Council raises an important and perfectly valid point to SSE about Viking Energy work during a Covid pandemic, and SSE dismiss their concerns with the usual PR catch-all: “all work is in line with the latest Government and industry guidance in relation to coronavirus.”

Community council calls for Covid testing of construction workers

This is at odds with what I saw on-site last Friday:

  • Eating wearing work gloves
  • Smoking on site
  • Little evidence of social distancing

SSE also claim that the “wellbeing of local communities being their number one priority”. Between staff being a number a one priority, Covid transmission prevention, shareholders, habitat, environment, general health and safety, customers and stakeholders, that’s an awful lot of number one priorities.

When push comes to shove which is the real number one?

SSE contractors were also noted:

  • Using loaded trucks on public roads without using their trailer covers
  • Using mobile phones on a public road with the engine running
  • Dust nuisance on-site with no use of any dust dampening

All this witnessed in the space of an hour when SSE and the contractor were already expecting members of the Shetland community to turn up to a picnic outside their site entrance. You would have thought contractors would be on their best behaviour?

This isn’t about an individual worker making a mistake or lacking experience. Lack of attention to health and safety, especially Covid, starts at the top and works it’s way down.

It’s obviously not been explained to workers what the site rules are, and what is expected of them, especially since work began during a global pandemic.

Hardhats, high viz clothing and safety glasses galore, but maybe nobody mentioned Covid 19 to them?

There are SSE employed staff already on site at Upper Kergord, you can tell from all the hire cars coming and going. The gap between what SSE say they will do, and what happens on the ground is worrying.

I continue to hope that Shetland workers contracted to Viking Energy feel some responsibility to their wider community, but what’s the chance for contractors and workers from outside Shetland having any sense of responsibility to Shetland

Kevin Learmonth

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