Health and Safety Policy
In line with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, you have a legal duty to ensure, ‘so far as reasonably practicable’, the health, safety and welfare of employees, volunteers and anyone that may be affected by activities in your church.
If you have 5 or more employees (or volunteers) you are required by law to have a written Health and Safety policy to state how you manage Health and Safety in your church. You should also do Risk Assessments of any activities and existing hazards. These should be followed by all employees and volunteers and reviewed regularly.
If you are not sure what you should include in your Health and Safety policy, you can see an example on the Health and Safety Executive’s website. They also provide useful templates for your policy and risk assessments.
We also strongly advise that you should have a Safeguarding Policy in place to protect children and vulnerable adults (to comply with the statutory guidance ‘Working together to safeguard children’).
This policy should express your Church’s commitment to protecting children and vulnerable adults. It should state what you will do to keep these groups of people safe and how you will deal with any concerns of this nature.
Whilst focused mainly on the child protection aspect, the NSPCC have provided some useful tips for writing your Safeguarding Policy that will apply equally to groups of vulnerable adults. You can find these tips on their website, along with a good example of a Safeguarding Policy.
DBS or Disclosure and Barring Service checks (previously CRB checks) are another way of ensuring that children and other vulnerable groups are kept safe. Any employees or volunteers that have regular contact with the aforementioned groups of people should be DBS checked for any history that might suggest it to be inappropriate for them to work with such individuals. More information on the DBS process and how to apply for a check can be found on the government’s gov.uk website.