Your responsibility for people on church premises

28 September 2018

An overview of your responsibilities for looking after people who visit your church premises and ensuring that they are kept safe.

Do we need a Safety Statement

Yes, you need an up-to-date Safety Statement  to help fulfil your duty of care to your church members, volunteers and visitors. When setting up your Statement  you need to undertake regular risk assessments to assess the types of risks and the likelihood of them occurring.
 
  • Make sure you have an accident book
  • Health and Safety should be on the agenda at your parish meetings
  • Update your safety statement  and risk assessments regularly
  • Monitor your Health and Safety procedures to take account of changing circumstances.
This should be a continuing process but we recommend you go through a risk assessment and take any action necessary at least annually.

Volunteers working on your premises

There is cover under the policy for volunteers but you should take sensible precautions to ensure they are not doing work of a hazardous or specialist nature.
 
A risk assessment should be carried out for all proposed work for volunteers. If at this stage the work appears too onerous or hazardous for a volunteer, you should seek professional expertise.

What about employees using their own vehicles on church business?

Cover is not included in your policy. Employees need to ensure their own motor insurance covers them for this use; most motor insurers automatically include this.

Outside groups using your premises

There is no automatic cover under the church policy for outside organisations; however, most groups have their own Public liability cover and you should seek written confirmation from them that they have appropriate cover.

Should we ask outside users to confirm they have Safeguarding procedures in place?

In the first instance, refer to your Diocesan guidelines and/or Diocesan Adviser. It is good practice to get written confirmation from groups working with children and/or vulnerable adults that they have a Safeguarding policy and they have carried out Garda vetting on all staff, volunteers and contractors.