The recent lockdown has provided some unique challenges. With people still able to move house, we have needed to be extremely thorough when it comes to risk assessments and policies. Because our crew of professional removers have had access to people’s homes, we have delivered regular training sessions for our staff and briefed them on our expectations. We have also spent time with clients, explaining to them their role and responsibilities.
Overall, we have done as much as we possibly can towards operating a safe and compliant working environment. We were delighted to pass a spot check from the health and safety executive with flying colours. And we are also very grateful for our trade association – BAR (British Association of Removers) for their timely communications and for supporting us through these difficult trading times.
However, one week into phase 2 lockdown, we had our first positive case COVID-19. Thankfully, the young man had no symptoms and was well, but he was part of a crew travelling to and from work in a vehicle with his father, who also works for us, and a colleague who does not drive. So just when we thought there was nothing else to master, we were forced to immerse ourselves in the workings of the NHS and the Track and Trace App.
To save someone else the niggles that we encountered, here is what we learnt:
- Make sure that your employees read the app carefully. If you test positive you must name people that you have had close contact with 2 days previously. However, because he hadn’t read the text correctly, he named everyone he had been in contact with for the previous 7 days!
- Ensure your staff are aware of what ‘close contact’ actually means. It transpired later that one employee named had not actually been in close contact with the crew member who tested positive. Sometimes it is difficult to contest the facts.
- The crew member’s father assumed that he had to isolate for 14 days. This is not always the case. You need to wait to hear back from the NHS for details on the exact duration. Please be aware that the system is quite slow, but it is improving.
- Having so much work on that could not be postponed and other employees in isolation due to possible contacts put a strain on our remaining employees. We were aware that they needed to be looked after more, especially those in physical roles. Fortunately, our team are amazing and they need to be applauded and thanked for their professionality and loyalty.
Finally, a new one on us, we have just had a customer call to say he is positive following his move last week. The challenges continue. On that note, Happy Christmas from all at Jamie Briggs Removals and Storage Ltd. and here’s to a more stable 2021.