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Risk Assessments

You need to ensure that reasonable precautions are in place at your church to keep it safe for those who use it. To do this, you need to think about what might cause harm to people. You will then need to decide if the precautions already in place are adequate. If they are not, you may need to identify further action to prevent any danger.  When done formally, this is known as a risk assessment.

Where you are an employer, you must complete these and they will need to meet specific requirements. In particular, they must identify the steps you need to take to comply with relevant health and safety regulations.

It is worth remembering that even if you are not an employer but own or control premises, you may still have to complete detailed risk assessments for certain hazards, for example, asbestos. These will have to meet specific requirements and in some cases you may need specialist assistance with this.   

Watch the video below for advice and tips on carrying out risk assessments.

Completing risk assessments for your church

The level of detail in your risk assessment should be proportionate to the risk. 

This means that for most small churches which present few hazards the risk assessment can be quite simple based on informed judgement and reference to appropriate guidance. 
  • Small churches

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    A small church is one with a small building, typically set in a rural location, engaged in normal church activities, for example – usual weekend services, a small congregation, and hosting few – if any – community of fundraising events. Most small churches present few or simple hazards.

    Download our risk assessment template for small churches.
For larger churches, the risk assessments may need to be more detailed reflecting the size of your church; the numbers of employees, volunteers or visitors you have; a broader range of hazards; and the nature of the activities involved there.
  • Large churches

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    A large church is one with a large building or that is very active, with a significant number of employees, volunteers and visitors or where there are many diverse activities. 

    Download our risk assessment template for large churches.
Completing risk assessments is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork - it is about identifying sensible precautions for your church.

Of course, completing risk assessments on their own won’t prevent accidents happening.  It is important that you take the precautions you have identified as being necessary.

Getting started

We have prepared a worked example you can use to help guide you through completing your own church risk assessment. 

Want to know more? 

More general information about health and safety in churches is available here or you can contact our Risk Management Advice Line by calling 0345 600 7531 (Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 17:00 - excluding Bank Holidays) or email risk.advice@ecclesiastical.com.
Ecclesiastical Insurance Group plc (EIG) Reg No 1718196. Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc (EIO) Reg No 24869. Ecclesiastical Life Ltd (ELL) Reg No 243111. Ecclesiastical Financial Advisory Services Ltd (EFAS) Reg No 2046087. Ecclesiastical Underwriting Management Ltd (EUML) Reg No 2368571. E.I.O. Trustees Ltd Reg No 941199. EdenTree Investment Management Ltd (EIM) Reg No 2519319. All companies are registered in England at Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester GL1 1JZ. EIO and ELL are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Firm Reference Number 113848 (EIO) and 110318 (ELL). EFAS and EIM are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Firm Reference Number 126123 (EFAS) and 527473 (EIM). EUML is an appointed representative of EIO who is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Firm Reference Number 402228.