Alex Vaughan adds contractor has taken over London Zoo's parking capacity so staff can drive to sites instead

Costain's workers are not using face masks on site because the company's boss said they impede safety and are not required by the CLC's site operating procedures, but he is insisting they are used on public transport to and from work.

Last month, the Construction Leadership Council said workers should only be wearing respiratory protective equipment if there is no other way they can stay 2m apart from each other.

Costain new chief executive Alex Vaughan

Costain chief executive Alex Vaughan said: “The safe [sic] operating procedures are quite explicit on PPE, on construction sites in the UK we don’t use face masks, it gets in the way of our safety. We are very clear on social distancing so we’re doing behavioural training for people, we’ve obviously put all of the safety measures in terms of putting barriers in place and demarking areas.”

He added: "What I have mandated personally is that anyone using public transport, we are supplying them with masks and asking them to use masks. And I think that’s because we think it’s a confidence builder for people while the questions of whether they are effective or not are out there."

Speaking at a Confederation of British Industry webinar yesterday, Vaughan (pictured) also revealed how Costain was trying to minimise the number of its workers using public transport.

He said: "We’ve now collaborated with businesses like London Zoo [shut because of the covid-19 pandemic] where we have taken all of its parking capacity and that enables us to bring workers into London without putting pressure on public transport.

"We want to reduce people’s use of public transport because, I’ve got to be honest with you, the photographs we saw last week [showing crowded Tube trains], are pretty frightening in terms of how people are using it."

Yesterday, Transport for London said it was opening more Tube stations and ramping up capacity across the underground as well on bus and overground routes as more and more builders returned to work.

Vaughan added: "I’ve been very clear I will never ask any one and never expect anyone who feels at risk to [come into work]. We’ll work openly with them to see how we can make it work."

He also said social distancing meant that sites were operating at 70% productivity, meaning that jobs were taking longer than previously planned.