A safe return to work
The BAR has issued a comprehensive document that sets out a pragmatic, best practice approach to
implementing social distancing and other workplace safety precautions to help BAR Member removals
companies protect their workforce and customers from coronavirus (Covid-19) when returning to trading.
The guidance has been formulated in collaboration with NAEA Propertymark, the Royal Institution of
Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Home Builders Federation and many other professional bodies and is
reproduced in full below.
As we return to operational activity, it is imperative,
given that Covid-19 is still present among us and will
be for some considerable time, that proper procedures
are followed to prevent inadvertent transmission of the
virus between our staff and their customers, and their
respective families and colleagues.
RIDDOR and risk assessments
It must also be noted that on 7 April, RIDDOR – the
Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous
Occurrences Regulations 2013 – offered new advice on
the reporting of Covid-19. This follows a joint statement
from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the
Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Trades
Union Congress (TUC), which states that businesses
staying open during the coronavirus must guarantee
safe working conditions, including social distancing.
Businesses must only make a report under RIDDOR,
relating to coronavirus, when:
• An unintended incident at work has led to someone’s
possible or actual exposure to coronavirus. This must
be reported as a dangerous occurrence.
• A worker has been diagnosed as having Covid-19
and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused
by exposure at work. This must be reported as a case
• A worker dies as a result of occupational exposure
RIDDOR stipulates that if something happens at work
which results in, or could result in, the release or escape
of coronavirus, this should be reported as a dangerous
occurrence. In the case of fatalities, if someone dies
as a result of a work-related exposure to coronavirus
and this is confirmed as the likely cause of death by a
medical practitioner, then the business must report this
within 10 days of the death.
It is against this background, therefore, that a full
risk assessment must be considered, and the proper
methodologies adopted to, as far as is possible, mitigate
The ‘responsible person’ for undertaking the risk
assessment in a business will often depend on the size
of the company, but ultimately the owner/managing
director has the statutory responsibility for ensuring the
health and safety of all employees and any other person
affected by the actions of those employees.
The simplest way to create a risk assessment is to
break the task into five key areas as follows:
1. Identity the hazards – anything which might cause
18 Removals & Storage June 2020
harm to anyone. For example:
a. physical (lifting, slips and trips, etc.)
b. mental (excess work, long hours, stress); or, in
c. virus transmission.
2. Having identified the problem, it then needs to be
decided who is at risk. It must be remembered to
include office staff and neighbouring companies
as well as, of course, the crew, their customers and
passers-by, together with their respective families.
3. Next, assess the risk. Take as many precautions as are
feasible. Can things be done differently? What training
might be required? Is the necessary equipment all in
good working order and fit for purpose?
4. Record your findings. Strangely, the law says that if
you have fewer than five employees you do not need to
keep those records. However, as a Member of the BAR
you must document them to comply with the Criteria
of Membership. Also, once the record has been created,
it is then much simpler to monitor any problems and
undertake periodic improvement review.
5. Most importantly, those records provide proof to any
outside body, such as the HSE, that in the event of
an incident or an inspection, the appropriate risk
assessment had been completed. Risk assessments
should be continuously reviewed and certainly
through the changing circumstances of the current
• Employers with five or more employees must have a
written health & safety policy and risk assessments.
• For further information and to view a sample health
& safety policy, visit www.hse.gov.uk/risk.
• For advice and support, contact the HSE Infoline at
firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0845 345 0055.
for carrying out removals
activities under Covid-19
It is inevitable that, in order to take the necessary
precautions to protect the health, safety and wellbeing
of staff, customers and their respective families,
additional time and resources will have to be factored
into each move programme. It is therefore imperative
that all such factors are fully costed into your service
proposal from the outset.
1. Pre-move survey
• Encourage the use of video survey technology
wherever possible. This can be done by website
inventory calculator or any of the various video
survey platforms that are available.
• If an on-site survey is necessary, request that
only one family member is present during the
• Ensure a detailed risk assessment is completed
to profile the customer’s risk category. It may be
necessary to request that they sign a disclaimer
to confirm they have not been exposed to the
virus through contact in the past seven days.
• Any customer that is in a high-risk category
should not be present on site.
• Customer to wear facemask during the survey visit.
• Request that no pets are free to roam around the
house during the visit.
• Social distancing measures (two metres apart)
should always be maintained.
• Surveyor to carry facemask/visor and gloves,
which are to be worn wherever possible.
2. Follow up quotation to include
(as well as pricing options, etc.)
written confirmation to customers
advising of what is required from
them to help minimise the risks
during the move
• The customer should deep clean the home and
their goods and effects in preparation for the move.
• The customer should self-pack miscellaneous
and non-breakable items wherever possible
(the mover will supply the necessary cartons
and other materials and should itemise any
• The mover to limit any packing service (if possible)
to the packing of china, glass and breakable items.
• The customer should dismantle and re-assemble
furniture items wherever possible.
• One family member only to be in attendance at
the premises during the move and the two metre
social distance to be maintained at all times.
• The customer should wear a facemask/visor
during the removal process.
• Request that no pets are free to roam around the
house during the move.
• No other tradespeople to be in the property(s)
during the move process.