This section focusses on Health and Safety requirements.
Select Vestries, or their equivalents, as people who have control of the parish premises, have a duty under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and other legislation such as the Occupiers Liability Act 1995 to ensure that the premises are safe.
Select Vestries should ensure that a Health & Safety statement is in place and that an annual Safety Audit of the premises and a Health & Safety risk assessment of the activities is undertaken.
Safety is of prime importance during any activity.
The Select Vestry shall determine the appropriate person/ people to undertake the annual safety audit and shall ask the leaders of each group to undertake the health & safety risk assessment of the activities. Reports from both should be brought to a Select Vestry meeting or its equivalent.
Activities that would require a health & safety risk assessment include the following (This is not, in any sense, an exhaustive list but gives an indication of the types of activities involved):
- Church services
- Sunday clubs
- Youth clubs
Further health & safety risk assessments are required for one-off events or outings e.g. a weekend camp, cinema trip.
Health & safety risk assessments for all activities must be completed in writing and kept with other Safeguarding documents so they can be available when required.
Up to date sample templates and videos with advice and tips for carrying out risk assessments are available on the Ecclesiastical Insurance website. In particular, please note the ROI Church Safety Statement and the Keeping People Safe – Risk Assessment templates which are downloadable. If you are not insured by Ecclesiastical, you can contact your own insurer for a template or use the information as appropriate from the Ecclesiastical template.
This section on risk assessment is for general guidance and support only. The particular circumstances locally must be taken into account and reflected in risk assessments. If necessary parishes should seek further advice and/or contact their insurance broker or insurance company to ensure their policy cover is sufficient.
Further information is provided in Part 5 of the Child Safeguarding policy.
In you require further advice please contact your diocesan support team or call the Safeguarding office in Church House Dublin at 01 412 5661.