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Does your church have a Health and Safety policy?

As we enter a season of summer events and activities, WEBA Association Manager Rob English would like to make sure all our churches are aware of guidelines regarding Health and Safety policies.

The following notes are from guidelines produced by Baptist Insurance:

Do you have a written Health and Safety policy?
Health and safety legislation applies to all places of religious worship. The Health and Safety at Work etc, Act 1974 requires every employer with five or more employees to ‘prepare and bring to the notice of their employees a written statement of their general policy with respect to the health and safety at work of their employees and the organisation and arrangements for carrying out that policy’. There will be some large churches where the Diaconate actually employs five or more people and in these cases there is no doubt that a written health and safety policy statement is required.

Employers with less than five employees are exempt from the requirement for a written health and safety policy. However, the Health and Safety Executive now regards volunteers as employees and persons who make use of volunteers as employers. The same level of training, information and
protection must be given to both volunteers and employees. In the light of this it is good practice to have a written policy that sets out your organisation and procedures for health and safety, even if you employ less than five people.

It is the duty of every employee, including part-time employees such as organists, cleaners and caretakers, to take reasonable care for their own safety and that of other persons who may be affected by their acts or omissions. The person responsible for enforcing the requirements of the legislation is the Environmental Health Officer of the Local Authority.

A health and safety policy for churches is available, along with a wide range of tools and checklists, from this page on the Baptist Insurance website.

Posted by Ruth Whiter