ALLOA Glassworks chiefs say health and safety is their "first priority" despite another coronavirus outbreak at the plant.

NHS Forth Valley's Test and Protect team is currently carrying out Covid-19 contact tracing after a number of staff working at the O-I Glassworks tested positive for coronavirus.

Health chiefs say that to respect and maintain patient confidentiality no further details will be given, though the Advertiser understands that dozens may now have the disease.

The public health team is working closely with the local management team to provide advice and support.

Dr Jennifer Champion, NHS Forth Valley consultant in public health, said: "We would like to take the opportunity to remind everyone of the importance of following the national guidance to minimise the risk of Covid-19 to themselves and others.

"This includes physical distancing indoors and outdoors, washing your hands regularly, using hand gel where appropriate and arranging to get tested immediately if any symptoms appear."

One source close to the workforce expressed fears that social distancing may not be being implemented as strictly as it could.

The source, who wanted to remain anonymous, added: "The factory is big enough, but they work on certain machines and they might not be getting them cleaned between each worker using them because of the sickness rates.

"That is maybe why it is spreading as fast as it is."

However, the claims were played down by the firm's UK HR director, Amy McKay, who told the Advertiser that safety measures were in place at the site.

"The Covid pandemic is obviously concerning for us all," she said. "The company has put a range of measures in place to protect its workforce including social distancing and personal hygiene requirements.

"We have very clear Covid guidelines at O-I, including what to do if there is a confirmed case and regularly disinfecting the workplace. These follow the guidelines from the World Health Organisation and the UK government.

"O-I continue to work closely with authorities, including multiple productive visits from the Health and Safety executive, for which we can confirm we are meeting the necessary requirements."

Ms McKay was unable to confirm if the claim of more than 30 positive cases was correct.

"The company is not at liberty to share private information on cases; however, the health and safety of our employees is our first priority," she added.

"We continue to reiterate to our employees the importance of adhering to Covid guidelines to ensure we provide a safe place of work."

Back in April, workers and family members of O-I staff contacted the Advertiser to express their concerns about the Glasshouse Loan factory remaining open during the coronavirus lockdown.

Bosses argued that they were "essential business" and said that bottles were "a vital part of the food and drink supply chain".

Further information on Covid-19 is available on the NHS Inform website

Tests can be booked via NHS Inform or by calling 0800 028 2816.