Health and Safety Policy

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Health and Safety Policy December 2016

This document has been prepared in accordance with the provisions of the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 and the regulations made under it.

The success of this policy will depend on everyone’s co-operation. We hope you will read it carefully and understand your role, and the overall arrangements for Health & Safety.

The policy is in three sections:
Section A – General statement of policy
Section B – Responsibilities
Section C – Arrangements

A – General statement of Policy

Our policy, so far as is reasonably practicable, is to provide and maintain a safe, secure and healthy environment for all who use the church. We will aim to provide such information, training and supervision as are needed for this purpose.

The policy and the way in which it is operated will be reviewed every two years and the appropriate changes made.

In order to ensure that Health & Safety matters are kept constantly under review, an item on Health & Safety will be on the agenda for all meetings of the Church Council, and members of the congregation will be consulted on a regular basis in order to seek their views on Health & Safety matters.

Nick Bloomfield on behalf of Minister and Church Council

B – Responsibilities

Responsibility of the Minister

Overall responsibility for Health & Safety is that of the Minister, who will ensure that arrangements are in place to satisfy Health & Safety Regulations and appropriate Codes of Practice. Specific responsibilities may be delegated to church personnel.

Responsibility of the St Andrews Church Council

The Church Council has general responsibility to approve the Health & Safety Policy and ensure that it is implemented.

Responsibility of the Verger

The Verger will have general oversight of the day-to-day implementation of the arrangements outlined in this policy. Specifically the verger will:

  • be familiar with Health & Safety Regulations as far as they concern church premises
  • be familiar with the Health & Safety policy and arrangements and ensure they are observed
  • ensure so far as is reasonably practicable, that safe systems are in place
  • ensure the church is clean and tidy

In all other specific aspects relating to this policy the verger will rely on others for advice and support, as follows:

Responsible persons

The following are responsible for particular areas of activity in this policy:


Activity Role
Accident book/accident reporting Safeguarding Officer
Fire Safety Fire Safety Officer
Building, heating &  electrical Building Services  Officer
Churchyard and grounds Building Services Officer
Internal seating and access Verger
Food hygiene and preparation Kitchen Monitor
Cleaning and hazardous substances Cleaning Monitor
Bell Ringing Captain
Safeguarding Safeguarding Officer



Responsibility of all church users and voluntary workers

All church users and voluntary workers have a responsibility to co-operate in the implementation of this Health & Safety policy and to take reasonable care of themselves

and others whilst on church business or premises.

C – Arrangements  (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.

It covers the following areas:

  1. Accidents and First Aid
  2. Fire and Electrical Safety

III. Building and Grounds

  1. Food Hygiene and Cleaning
  2. Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults
I. Accidents and First Aid

This H&S guidance is intended to reduce the risk of accidents, incidents, sudden severe illness or breakdown and injury. In the event of an accident occurring the following information applies.

  • The First Aid box is located in:

the kitchen area, on top of the cabinet opposite the sink

  • The First Aid box should be suitably stocked, based on the advice from qualified

First Aiders.

  • These will be inspected every 12 months by the responsible person and out-of- date items replaced.
  • The date of the inspection and the person carrying it out must be recorded on the top of the first aid box.
  • The names of trained First Aiders are displayed on the notice board at the back of the church
  • The accident book is located in:

the kitchen area, on top of the cabinet, next to the First Aid Box

  • All accidents and incidents must be entered in the accident book by the person witnessing, and/or dealing with the accident or incident. The minister responsible for St Andrews, and the Safeguarding Officer must be informed. Where necessary our insurers must be advised.
  • All outside organisations using the church premises must be advised of this policy and notified as to the location of the first aid box and accident book. Any accidents must be recorded, and reported as above.
  • The accident book will be reviewed at least every three months by the responsible person, and any additional actions taken as a result of this review must be recorded.
  • The review date, and the name of the reviewer, must be recorded in the front of the accident book.

In the event of a serious accident or illness emergency services must be called on 999 (please note there is no landline in the church, and mobile phone reception is unreliable)


II. Fire and electrical safety

Regular checks of fire risks, equipment and safety procedures will be undertaken by the responsible person as set out below

Fire Safety

Fire extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are kept in the following locations:

Location Type of Extinguisher Capacity
Inside main (inner) door, left Powder 9.2kg
Left side of organ in chancel Powder 9.8kg
Kitchen Powder 2.2kg
Vestry Powder 9.4kg


The extinguishers noted above will be visually checked every 6 months by the responsible person, and tested annually, and replenished every 4 years by an independent specialist firm.

Other fire protection equipment

There is a fire blanket in the kitchen.

The responsible person will check annually that it is still in place and fit for purpose.

Use of Candles

The use of candles in and around the church presents a potential fire risk. The following guidance aims to minimize the risk:

  • The altar candles are oil filled and must never be lit with anything other than matches. They must be left in place and not moved around.
  • Tapers must not be lit from these candles as wax can drop from the taper into the oil filled candle and cause damage.
  • The Paschal candle can be lit from the snuffer and then extinguished with the snuffer.
  • Any plan to use candles more widely in the congregation as part of a service or activity must first be subject to a risk assessment, to include:

o Estimated number and location of candles

o Arrangements for, and safety of candle holders

o Arrangements for lighting and extinguishing candles

o Arrangements for dealing with an emergency


In the event of a fire (that cannot be brought under immediate control)

The following actions should be taken by the person discovering the fire:

  • Immediately raise the alarm
  • Commence evacuation procedures
  • Telephone the emergency services (note – the church has no landline and mobile phone reception is unreliable)
  • Continue to attack the fire if possible within your capability using the appliances provided, but without taking personal risk
  • If it is not possible to attack the fire or if you are unsure which fire extinguisher to use, assist in the evacuation of the building, ensuring that all doors are closed behind you. The general rule is people before property
  • Ensure clear access for the emergency vehicles


Evacuation procedure

  • The main fire exits are:

The south facing main door (key on shelf in bookcase next to the door)

The vestry door (opened from the inside with yale lock)

The bell tower door, west elevation (key above the inner bell-tower door)

  • All designated fire doors must be unlocked before a service commences and be clearly marked as fire exits using the ‘Running Man’ symbol
  • The responsible person will check every six months that all doors can be opened and that the keys are readily accessible
  • The church service steward must ensure that each emergency exit is clear and fit for the swift evacuation of all personnel within the building.
  • In the event of an evacuation being necessary the church steward must check each part of the building for clearance, without taking personal risk, prior to his/her exit, including the parvise and WC upstairs.
  • For persons of limited mobility the bell tower door should be used if possible
  • Responsibility for using each fire extinguisher will be allotted to the service stewards
  • A torch must be easily accessible for the steward. This is stored in the book cupboard, upper shelf, next to the main entrance
  • This is particularly important as the location of heating grills in the floor of the main aisle increases the likelihood of smoke rapidly entering the church and reducing visibility if there is a fire in the boiler room
  • In the event of an emergency (fire or bomb threat, etc.), an announcement to leave the building will be made by the service leader or steward
  • Persons will assemble in the courtyard/car park of the nearby workshops for head count
  • The emergency services will be contacted immediately by the service steward or other nominated person using a mobile phone

(please note there is no landline in the church, and mobile phone reception is unreliable)

Evacuation drills

Fire evacuation drills will be carried out where necessary.

Electrical safety (see also section on safety of plant and machinery)

Faulty electrical appliances and connections pose a fire risk. Every person using an appliance should check for any defects and ensure that it is fit for purpose. Any defects should be reported to the responsible person or Verger. All appliances should be switched off and unplugged after use.

  • A list of all portable electrical appliances and the inspection arrangements is maintained by the responsible person.
  • Plugs,cables and sockets will be inspected every twelve months by the responsible person. Any necessary repairs will be reported to the Verger or church council member for action
  • The responsible person will carry out a visual inspection every twelve months of the

fixed electrical installations and appliances. Any defects will be reported to the Verger or church council member for action.

  • The fixed electrical system will be inspected and tested every five years by a competent contractor, to be arranged by the responsible person, and any necessary remedial work will be carried out
  • At intervals of not more than five years the lightning conductor system will examined and tested by a competent firm of lightning engineers to be arranged by the responsible officer
  • It is our policy not to sell any second hand electrical goods
III Buildings and Grounds

We aim to ensure that the building and grounds are safe, and that we minimise the risks to the health, safety and welfare of all who work in, and use them. In order to do this:

  • The building will be inspected every six months by the Building Services Officer and any defects reported to the Church Council
  • A check of the windows will be made during this inspection to ensure that the glass is safe and protected from any breakage
  • Repairs will be undertaken where necessary as soon as is practically possible

We aim to make the church safe from outside intrusion or criminal acts by adopting the following measures:

Security Measures (see also Fire Safety)

  • The main south facing entrance should be the only entrance where people can enter and leave the church before, during and after a service or other event
  • The inner main entrance door should be immediately bolted on the inside and secured in the event of an attack or intrusion from outside.
  • Other doors should be able to be opened from the inside and used as an escape route if necessary
  • There should always be someone at the main door, normally the steward or sidesperson, welcoming and observing those entering the church
  • This person must know what to do in the event of a threatened intrusion – close and secure the door, alert the minister in attendance, alert the police
  • The congregation should know the evacuation procedures and how to leave the church safely and quickly
  • The outside lighting should be sufficient to help deter intruders – timed LED

lights, all paths and entrances to the churchyard lit, all bulbs working.

We aim to ensure the safety of all persons working in the church by adopting the following safe working standards:

Safe working

Any person working in or around the church and grounds should observe the following safety measures:

  • Children under the age of 12 are not allowed in the kitchen at any time
  • At least one adult in a group should have access to a mobile phone, and know who to contact in case of an emergency
  • Lone working is not recommended other than in exceptional circumstances when the individual must have means of communication (mobile phone) and have notified someone of their whereabouts, and anticipated time of completion. (please note there is no landline in the church, and mobile phone reception is unreliable)
  • External doors should be locked when working inside the church and casual visitors discouraged
  • Persons working alone must NEVER use ladders or work at heights
  • All adults should note the location of the First Aid Box and be able to access it in case of an emergency
  • In the event of an accident the accident log book must be completed and the details drawn to the attention of the Safeguarding Officer and/or Minister in charge
  • Event organisers should check there is sufficient cleaning material, disinfectant and washing up liquid for the required usage, and replace if necessary
  • Organisers must familiarize themselves with the fire prevention arrangements, including the location and use of fire blankets and extinguishers, and fire exits
  • One designated adult must be responsible for checking the premises and locking up the church at the end of each service or event
  • Working at high levels should only be done by competent individuals, always working in pairs and with the appropriate safeguards, including safety equipment, tools and machinery. A risk assessment should be completed before any work starts
  • Manual handling of heavy or awkward loads should be avoided as far as is reasonably practical. Where it is not possible to avoid the need to move loads a risk assessment must first be completed and lifting aids such as trolleys and hoists used wherever possible

Lighting (internal and external)

In order to ensure that the church is adequately lit, both internally and externally, a visual check will be made at least every three months by the responsible person to ensure that all lights in the church, and grounds are working. Any bulbs will be replaced, according to the safety procedures.

An annual inspection of the internal and external lighting systems will be made by the responsible officer, and a report prepared for the church council on the continuing suitability of the systems, and any changes required.

Central Heating System

The heating system at St Andrews consists of: a main gas fired blown warm-air system with main underground boiler room, ducting and 4 grilles in main church area. These grilles must never be covered.

The Verger and Building & Services Officer are responsible for ensuring that the church is adequately heated for services and other events.

The responsible person will arrange for the system to be checked and tested annually by an approved contractor.

Any defects will be reported to the church council for attention.

Both doors leading from the church to the Vestry must be kept closed to reduce the speed at which any fire in the boiler room would spread into the church

In the event of a fire anywhere in the church the main gas supply must be switched off immediately.

The main stopcock is located in the cupboard by the east gate. The

responsible person must brief the Verger and others of the key location and correct procedure to be followed.

Bell Ringing

The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers has issued Health and Safety Guidance to its members ( October 2015) which covers the general issues relevant to the safe operation of bell ringing. It encourages all bell ringers to have regard to the safety of themselves and others, and to take reasonable steps to reduce risks by behaving responsibly and taking sensible precautions.

The Captain of the Bell Ringers should ensure this guidance is followed, or appoint a designated, named person to do so. This person should:

  • Ensure that all bell ringers are aware of the general health and safety guidance and its relevance to their role
  • Ensure that all bell ringers are aware of the specific Health and Safety guidance relating to St Andrews Church, and its relevance to them
  • In particular, to note the guidance on safe working practices, safeguarding, fire safety, and responding to accidents and emergencies
  • Complete an annual review relating to bell ringing activities and report the findings to the Church Council
  • The following actions should be observed at all times:

o No persons, other than those authorized by the captain, should enter the tower during bellringing practice or sessions

o Trainees and non-ringing visitors should be supervised at all times when in the tower and the bells are being rung

o The captain should obtain the written agreement of a parent for any trainee under the age of 18

o Ringing visitors should be supervised according to the level determined by the captain and commensurate with their level of competence

  • Lone working is not recommended under this guidance. This does not preclude a

bell ringer ringing alone at specific services or events, when there are other people in church

  • At all other times there should be at least two people in the tower during bell

ringing and training sessions

  • Up to date records should be kept of bell ringers and other visitors
  • The captain should undertake regular inspections of bells and arrange for any necessary maintenance to be completed
  • These inspections should be at least annually, and more frequent if required
  • The results of these inspections should be recorded by the captain and the

findings reported to the church council as part of the annual report

  • Bells and ropes should be safely stored when not in use according to the

recommendations of the captain

  • The tower should be left in a reasonably tidy and safe condition at the end of

each session

Churchyard and Grounds

The uneven floors and paths both inside the church and outside present a potential hazard. In order to minimise the risk of slips, trips and falls an inspection will be made every quarter by the responsible person(s) of all paths and steps in the church grounds. Particular note will be taken of:

  • the existence of, and condition of painted strips on key steps
  • the existence of, and condition of stair and step rails
  • any loose paving stones or other hazards impacting on the safe use of paths
  • any moss, algae or leaves on paths
  • any overgrown paths around the church, particularly those providing access to the rear entrance
  • the adequacy of external lighting in facilitating the safe access to paths and grounds

Any defects will be reported to the verger or buildings officer in the first instance in order that repairs or remedial measures can be carried out

Internal access and seating arrangements

The uneven floors and number of steps, the occasional changes to the seating arrangements and the location of central heating grills inside the church all constitute a potential hazard. In order to minimise the risk of slips, trips and falls an inspection will be made quarterly by the responsible person of all internal floors and stairs, taking particular note of:

  • access arrangements into the church
  • any loose flooring or carpet which might be a hazard (the heating grilles must not be covered by carpet or any other covering).
  • any obstacles preventing ease of access in and around the church interior
  • the layout and storage of seating within the church, such as to facilitate the free movement of people
  • access to the toilet area
  • the layout of the children’s area and the condition of toys and other equipment used in this area. The area should be kept free of clutter and all toys and equipment tidied away at the end of each session

All visitors to the church for weddings and other services will be advised of the potential hazard of the heating grills, the limited access to the toilet, and the uneven floors and location of steps in the church.

A seating plan to assist those arranging or re-arranging seating within the church is displayed on the notice board. This plan aims to minimise obstruction and facilitate access to all areas of the church.

The maximum number of people allowed in church at any one time for an event is 180, all of whom must be seated.

Wheelchair users can access the church via the ramps available in the porch at the main entrance. For large wheelchairs, and/or in special circumstances, the bell tower entrance can be used providing the bells are not being rung.

IV Food Hygiene and Cleaning

This guidance aims to help all those using the kitchen to provide food and drink within the church to do so in as safe and hygienic way as possible

  • All surfaces used for the preparation of food must be clean and disinfected
  • All persons preparing or handling food must first wash their hands and make sure any cuts and grazes are covered
  • All perishable food (milk, cream etc) must be kept refrigerated, and, if still within ‘use by’ date, returned to the fridge when not consumed
  • Cakes and other food stuffs being offered to the general public should where possible be clearly labeled with ingredients
  • A general disclaimer notice should also be displayed noting that it is not possible to guarantee the ingredients of food provided
  • Rubbish should be disposed of and waste bins emptied and disinfected if necessary after each event
  • Dogs and other animals are not allowed in the kitchen at any time
  • The kitchen and other areas, and any equipment used, must be left clean and tidy and in a hygienic state, ready for the next event

Hazardous Substances

Where possible we have eliminated the use of hazardous substances. The responsible person will maintain a list of all hazardous substances used in the church and grounds.

All such substances must be used according to the manufacturers instructions, including action to be taken in the event of an accident. They must be kept in a locked cupboard.

The following hazardous substances are currently used and stored as follows:

Item                                                             Storage

Disinfectant                                            Cupboard under sink in kitchen

Bleach                                                    Cupboard under sink in kitchen

Candle oil                                                Vestry cupboard

Note: these cupboards must be locked and the location of the keys noted. Safety of Equipment and Machinery

The responsible person will keep a list of all items of equipment and machinery and the procedures for checking and maintenance.

Before using any item of equipment a check must be made to ensure it is in a safe working condition. No electrical equipment should be brought onto the premises and used until it has been tested by the responsible person and entered into the electrical equipment record. In particular all persons using electrical equipment must:

  • Visually check all electrical equipment before use
  • Report all faults immediately to the responsible person
  • Not attempt to use or repair faulty equipment
  • Switch electrical equipment off and disconnect when not in use
  • Position flexible cables and extension leads so that they do not constitute a

tripping hazard, or disconnect and store safely, and ensure that they are not subject to mechanical damage

Persons under the age of 18 are not permitted to use any power driven item of equipment or machinery

Ladders must only be used as a last resort, provided they can be safely secured and that there are at least two people in attendance.

V. Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults

These policies and procedures (Safeguarding Children, Young People and Vulnerable Adults – Stantonbury Ecumenical Partnership Procedures 2016) are held in separate documents and should be used in conjunction with these procedures where relevant.