The HSE has had a “massive” injection of funds to investigate firms whose business practices fail to adhere to social distancing practices in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, a transport solicitor has warned.

As increasing numbers of UK employees begin to return to work, Backhouse Jones solicitor Mark Davies said every firm needed to carry out a risk assessment – or else expect sanctions.

And he warned that no matter how straightforward your transport business was, not to become complacent and think you don’t need one.

His comments came as a poll by Backhouse Jones found 35% of transport companies so far have no risk assessment in place for their staff returning to work and a further 19% do, but only a verbal one.

Davies said: “You have to carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment.

“This is an area where we have been getting a lot of inquiries. You have got to consult with your workers or a trade union if there is one when you are putting in place a risk assessment and you should also publish the results as well.

“A tipper operator, for example, may not be massively onerous, but don’t fall into the trap of complacency.

“You have to do these things and you have to risk assess.

“Verbally is fine, but only if you have five employees or less. Anything over that needs to be written down. And it’s reasonable to have it written down in any event.”

Davies also said it would be likely many companies will need to create a specific position for someone to monitor a company’s response to Covid-19 and he added: “Also, things will be monitored by the HSE; they have had a massive injection of funds to monitor Covid-19 and enforcement against it and you will be a target.”

Earlier this week, the BVRLA said members needed to ensure they were operating safely in a post-pandemic environment.