Health and safety
22 September 2019
Discover what your responsibilities are with health and safety and how to meet them using the resources highlighted on this page.
Keeping all those involved with your Baptist church safe is important. For those who are responsible for health and safety, being satisfied that you are doing enough can be a concern.
Aside from not wanting to see anybody injured on your premises, you may have to comply with health and safety law. This includes the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The extent of your responsibilities will depend on your circumstances.
Meeting your health and safety responsibilities
Understanding these is key to getting things right. It also helps you deal with health and safety matters confidently and in a sensible, proportionate manner. As most churches are comparatively low-risk environments, health and safety should not be complicated, costly or time-consuming.
However, for larger churches and those having employees or many diverse activities, you may need to:
- Appoint someone to help you meet your obligations
- Write a health and safety policy
- Complete risk assessments to identify the precautions you need to take
- Provide training and information for employees and volunteers
- Provide first-aid equipment and implement procedures for dealing with an incident
- Check precautions in place at your church remain adequate
- Keep records of what you have done.
How safe is your church?
To help you decide what needs to be done at your church, you can work through our church self-assessment. This will identify some of the steps you can take to manage health and safety more effectively. It will also highlight some of the more common hazards where further action may be necessary.
If you are an employer with five or more employees you must prepare risk assessments to meet specific requirements. If you have fewer than five employees, simple records that appropriate checks have been made will suffice.
If you don’t have any employees, you do not need to prepare general risk assessments. Simple evidence briefly outlining how health and safety will be managed or the safety checks that have been made would be sufficient.
However, some health and safety regulations require specific, more detailed risk assessments to be completed in relation to certain hazards. A good example of this is for fire safety arrangements. Here, you may need to complete the assessment even though you are not an employer.
Health and safety policy
This is usually a written document which details your commitment to, and detail for managing health and safety on church premises.
Only employers who have five or more employees need to have a written health and safety policy. It will need to meet certain requirements. If you have fewer than five employees, you do not need to do this. However, you should still provide them with basic health and safety information.
If you have no employees at all, you are under no obligation to prepare a written policy. However, you may still need to show that you take your responsibility to protect people seriously. Here, simple evidence briefly outlining how health and safety is to be managed or the safety checks that have been made would be sufficient.