CONSTRUCTION workers yesterday said they were being asked to put their lives at risk as sites continued to operate despite the coronavirus shut-down.

Builders and construction workers have said they feel “angry and unprotected” as work continues amidst conflicting guidance from Holyrood and Westminster.

Downing Street has stated that operations should continue if safe to do so under social distancing rules, while Nicola Sturgeon insists sites should not open.

Jason Leitch, the Scottish Government’s national clinical director, said work sites “should close” and Nicola Sturgeon said jobs should be off “unless the building that is being worked on is essential, such as a hospital”.

Yesterday morning, one sub-contractor working on the repairs to fire-ravaged luxury hotel Cameron House said his team had been ordered to stay on, with tradespeople facing instant dismissal for any breaches of two metre separation rules.

Two people died when the Loch Lomond retreat caught ablaze in 2017, with the owners of the five-star accommodation putting the damage at £18.5 million.

The worker, who did not want to be named, said: “They insist we press on and continue as normal.”

He went on: “I asked why we are not shutting the site. My life is being put in jeopardy because the rich people want their hotel back for autumn.”

Main contractor ISG, a multinational, told The National it was reviewing all active sites, with that process set to complete by end of business last night. It is understood that all those working on its projects will be given fresh information today, and that changes to shift patterns and other alterations are being considered .

ISG’s chief executive Paul Cossell said: “We must act now and do so decisively to protect the welfare of people across the industry. I believe that by taking this decisive action we will keep our people, customers, supply chain and the general public safe. Nothing is more important.”

Cossell said he was acting “ahead of government”, but the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said guidance had been issued to the sector by the Construction Leadership Council, adding: “We urge employers to use their common sense when managing live projects and ensuring that employees can follow the government guidance and practice safe social distancing on site.”

But speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Sturgeon repeated her directive that all non-essential work should now be on pause. She told employers: “You should be asking yourself if your business is contributing anything right now that is essential to the fight against coronavirus.” On all but health-related building projects, she said: “We would expect them to be closed.”

But another worker, a crane operator on a major job, stated: “Everyone on site at the minute feels angry and unprotected.”

Appearing on Good Morning Britain yesterday, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said construction workers should not be working during the lockdown, stating: “I made that point quite forcibly at yesterday’s Cobra, I made that point quite clearly to the Prime Minister.

Cameron House Hotel was contacted for comment.