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Health and Safety

St Mary the Virgin Health and Safety Policy



Address: High Road West,



Suffolk IP11 9DS


Date: November 2014


Review Date: November 2016




This document has been prepared in accordance with the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the regulations made under it. It covers St Mary the Virgin Church in Walton, St Mary’s Church Hall and St Philips.


The Policy is in three sections:


A. General Statement of Policy

B. Organisation and Responsibilities

C. Arrangements


Note: Instructions and Guidance are in italics








1. Responsibility of the Vicar/Rector/Priest in Charge 4
2. Responsibility of the Churchwardens 4
3. Responsibility of the Health and Safety Officer 4
4. Responsibility of the Parochial Church Council 5
5. Responsibility of Employees and Voluntary Workers 5
6. Responsible Persons /Agencies 5


1. Accidents and First Aid 6
2. General Fire Safety 7
3. Electrical Safety 7
4. Gas Equipment Safety 7
5. Hazardous Substances 8
5a Asbestos 8
6. Safety of Plant and Machinery 8
7. Slips, Trips and Falls 8
8. Lighting 8
9. Working at High Levels 8
10. Preparation of Food 9
11. Manual Handling 9
12. Display Screen Equipment 9
13. Hazardous Buildings and Glazing 9
14. Child Protection 9
15. Personal Safety 9
16. Risk Assessments 10
17. Contractors 10
18. Information and Enforcement 10






Everyone is responsible for their own safety and the safety of others!


We will also endeavour to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of all members of the congregation, staff, vulnerable people, children, contractors, visitors and others who may visit the church, churchyard and any associated buildings.


The allocation of duties for safety matters and the particular arrangements which we will make to implement the policy are set out in section B.


The policy will be kept up to date, particularly in the light of any changes to our buildings or activities. To ensure this, the policy and the way in which it has operated will be reviewed regularly and the appropriate changes made.


In order to ensure that health and safety matters are kept constantly under review, an item on health and safety will be on the agenda for all meetings of the Annual Parochial Church Council Meeting.















Signed: …………………………………………………………………….

Vicar/Rector/Priest in Charge/Church Warden(s) (delete as appropriate)



Date: ……………





Review Date: ………November 2016


This policy is reviewed at regular intervals.




1. Responsibility of the Vicar/Rector/Priest in Charge

Overall responsibility for health and safety is that of the Rector, and or the Church Wardens during an Interregnum. PCC members will ensure that arrangements are in place to satisfy Health and Safety Regulations and appropriate Codes of Practice. Legally if the person(s) contributing to an accident can not be determined it is whoever is responsible for the management of the property.

Specific responsibilities may be delegated to church personnel.

2. Responsibility of the Churchwardens

Responsibility to ensure that the arrangements outlined in this policy are carried out and updated as necessary is with the Churchwardens.


3. Responsibility of the Health and Safety Officer

The Health and Safety Officer carries the responsibility for advising on the arrangements outlined in this policy:-

The responsibility of the Health and Safety Officer shall be to:-


  1. be familiar with Health and Safety Regulations as far as they concern church premises and advise the Church Wardens & PCC accordingly
  2. be familiar with the health and safety policy arrangements and encourage there observance, particularly that risk assessments are undertaken
  3. encourage so far as is reasonably practicable, the adoption of safe systems of working
  4. monitor the church and halls, so they continue to provide a safe environment
  5. monitor the churchyard to ensure it remains a safe environment
  6. encourage the use of safety equipment and clothing where this is required
  7. encourage budget holders that contractors are made aware of their Health & Safety Obligations and adopt safe working practises when their verbal or written contract is issued
  8. advise the Church Wardens and PCC that adequate access and egress is maintained for services
  9. check that fire fighting equipment is available and maintained
  10. check that emergency lighting is regularly tested
  11. check that food hygiene regulations and procedures are observed.




4. Responsibility of the Parochial Church Council

The Parochial Church Council has general responsibility to ensure that the health and safety policy is implemented.



5. Responsibility of employees and voluntary workers

All employees and volunteers have a responsibility to co-operate in the
implementation of this health and safety policy and to take reasonable care of themselves and others whilst on church business or premises.

Employees and voluntary workers must therefore:

1. comply with safety rules, operating instructions and working
2. use protective clothing and equipment when it is required
3. report any fault or defect in equipment immediately to the appropriate
person (Church Warden, Administrator or HSO).
4. report all accidents (however minor), injuries, near misses or other
potential safety hazards as soon as possible
5. not misuse anything provided in the interests of health and safety.


6. Responsible Persons / Agencies

The Church Wardens are responsible for Health and Safety in all church premises as are all users of the facilities.
Suffolk Coastal District Council maintains the Churchyard and therefore shares a responsibility for maintaining the churchyard as a safe environment. Child protection issues have been delegated to the Church’s Child Protection Officer(s). However the C of E would still hold the Vicar in Charge accountable.

Suffolk Coastal District Council, has responsibility for ensuring our compliance of health and Safety legislation. It is also responsible for the enforcement of Food Hygiene regulations.



(Implementation of the Policy)

This section sets out our arrangements to minimise as far as is reasonably practicable risks to the health and safety of employees, voluntary workers, members of the congregation, visitors and contractors.


1. ACCIDENTS AND FIRST AID(There is no legal requirement to have a first aid box or qualified first aiders)

First Aid boxes are located in the:

  • Church kitchen
  • Hall kitchen.
  • St Philips kitchen

Trained/qualified First Aiders:


The church aims to have at least 3 qualified first aiders as part of our Vulnerable Adult and Child Protection policy. Their certification is recorded by our Child Protection Officers and the Church Administrator


The accident books are located in:

  • Church kitchen
  • Hall kitchen.
  • St Philips kitchen


Accident report forms held by the Church Administrator. All accidents and incidents should be entered in the accident book or on an accident report form by the event organiser and when appropriate our insurers advised.


Fatal accidents, major injuries and dangerous occurrences must be reported immediately by the quickest practicable means to the Local Authority under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995. (RIDDOR)


The following is a summary of the injuries or occurrences which must be reported:

– any fatality on Church premises

– major injuries to employees (this includes any injury resulting in admission to hospital for more than 24 hours and any accident that causes more than three consecutive days off work).

– Injuries to non-employees which require the injured person to be taken
straight to hospital for treatment.

These accidents will be reported by the Church Warden or nominated representative An incident can be registered online at

Any group using the church or church hall shall be notified in writing that in the event of an accident, details must be entered in the accident book by the organiser or their nominated representative and the administrator informed.


Our policy is to fulfil our obligations under the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997. In order to achieve this, we undertake the following:

An assessment of the fire risks in the church and associated buildings. This is carried out either as a specific exercise or as part of our general health and safety risk assessments. A record is filed with the Church Administrator. To minimise the risk we undertake to:
1. check that a fire can be detected in a reasonable time and that
people can be warned.

2. check that people who may be in the building can get out safely.

3. provide reasonable fire fighting equipment.

4. check that those in the building know what to do if there is a fire.

5. regularly check that our fire fighting equipment is in place and is
serviceable, and that there is an annual maintenance contract in
place with a reputable company.




1 Whenever used, mains voltage plugs, cables and sockets will be inspected by the user to ensure that there are no loose connections, worn flexes or leads. Any necessary repairs will be actioned, via the Church Warden, by a competent person.

2 Every year a visual inspection will be carried out of the fixed electrical installation. Any defects will be reported to H & S Officer for action.


3. Every two years all our portable electrical equipment will be tested by a competent person to ensure that all appliances are safe. Any unsafe equipment will be repaired or safely disposed of.

  1. Every five years, our fixed electrical system will be inspected and
    tested by a competent contractor who is a member of an approved body. Any necessary remedial work will be carried out.


  1. At intervals of not more than five years, currently two years or if damage is observed our lightning conductor system will be examined and tested by a competent specialist firm of engineers.
  2. A copy of the test records will be kept by the Church Administrator in the Church Office or electronically on a designated database.

4. GAS EQUIPMENT SAFETY (Hall and St Philips)


Our gas boilers and any other gas equipment is maintained and checked annually by a competent contractor who is a “Gas Safe” registered gas installer. Any safety work is implemented immediately.


Where at all possible, we have eliminated the use of hazardous substances. Where this is not possible, our safety arrangements are as follows:-

Name Hazard Type Storage Protection Accident Procedure
Bleach Irritant Oxidant Locked in cleaners store Gloves Eye contact – rinse with water and seek medical advice. If swallowed, seek immediate medical advice; show container or label.
Toilet cleaner Irritant   As above. Gloves As above.




We maintain a Health and Safety Asbestos Monitoring log of all known and suspected Asbestos Containing Materials, ACM’s. It is updated noting any deterioration due to weathering or mechanical damage and repaired where appropriate. Contractors and volunteers undertaking project or maintenance work are advised of the potential risk.




    Ladders may only be used when they can be safely secured. This may
    necessitate the use of ladder ties or two person operation.

    Any defect and damage found to any item of plant or machinery must
    be reported to the Administrator or Church Warden.



7. SLIPS, TRIPS AND FALLS (Condition of floors, steps and paths )

In order to reduce as far as is reasonably practicable the risk of slips, trips and falls, an inspection will be made every month by the Verger of all floors and stairs in the church and hall, and all paths and steps in the churchyard. Particular note will be made of moss, algae and leaves on paths. Any defects observed or reported to the Wardens, will be risk assessed and appropriate action taken.


Any failed lighting will be reported to the Warden, who will ensure remedial action is implemented



The following areas are designed as high levels:-


Interior:- Tower above ringing level; Nave and Chancel ceiling
Exterior:- All gutters; flat roof above choir vestry/kitchen etc.
Only contractors and competent volunteers may work at high level:

A second party must always be either in attendance, or aware, that such work is in progress.



We observe the Food Standards Agency guidelines on food preparation and storage and will register with the Local Authority Food Hygiene inspectors if we decide to operate the kitchen as a commercial operation. (e.g. Just a Bite)

When the paying public are present, at least one of those responsible for food preparation on the premises must have a current food hygiene certificate.


We ensure that all hirers who wish to provide foodstuffs are advised of the facilities and procedures.Church shared lunches are considered private parties.

11. MANUAL HANDLING (Lifting, carrying and moving loads)

Our policy is to eliminate the need for manual handling as far as is reasonably practicable. Where this is not possible a suitable trolley should be used



Our policy is to assess the risks to all habitual users of computer work stations and to reduce those risks to the lowest level possible in consultation with the users




Any defects noted are immediately reported to the Wardens and procedures put in hand for repairs.

Where necessary, temporary measures are taken to ensure that there is no risk of accident or injury until permanent repairs can be carried out.



The St Mary’s has a Child protection policy monitored by the PCC approved child protection officer



Risk Assessments need to be considered to assess the risks to persons working alone in the church, offering lifts, accepting persons into their homes, visiting and handling cash and other valuables.



  1. All money is counted by two persons working together, and placed in the Church safe immediately.
  2. All money is paid into the bank as soon as practicable, but not at a regular day of the week or time.
  3. When working with children and vulnerable people we follow our child protection policy
  4. Pastoral Care visits, are informally risk assessed by the visitor and where appropriate measures taken to minimise risk to all involved


Risk assessments will be carried out on all areas of the church premises and all activities that carry a significant risk at regular intervals by a competent person in order to meet our obligations under The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. These assessments to be filed with the Church Administrator.


Anyone entering church premises for the purposes of carrying out work, other than an employee or voluntary worker of the church, will be regarded as a contractor. All contractors, including the self-employed, must abide by the following:-

1. Have their own health and safety policy (where required by law) and be
able to provide a copy of the same.

2. Produce evidence that they have appropriate public
and employers liability insurance in place. A record of this evidence will
be maintained.


Environmental Health Service Information:


Suffolk Coastal District Council,

Melton Hill,


Suffolk IP 12 1AU. Tel.: 01394 444357


Employment Medical Advisory Service Information:



Medical Advisory Service

Wren House,

Hedgerows Business Park,

Colchester Road,


Essex CM2 5PF Tel.: 01245 706200