Your responsibility for people on church premises
19 August 2022
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 Health and Safety policy?
Where you employ five or more employees, you will need a written policy to meet legal requirements. If you have fewer than five, you do not have to have a policy in writing. However, this does not mean you are exempt from having one altogether. In these cases, you should be able to evidence the way you manage health and safety including how you provide information to workers.
If you have no employees at all, you do not need a health and safety policy under health and safety law. However, you should still be able to provide simple evidence briefly outlining how health and safety is managed at your church.
Volunteers working on your premises
There is cover for volunteers, but you should ensure that they are not doing work of a hazardous or specialist nature.
For other tasks, you should take sensible precautions to make sure that volunteers remain safe. Where you have employees, you should generally afford the same level of protection to volunteers as you do to them. For example, this may mean that you have to provide them with relevant information, training or personal protective equipment.
What about volunteers using their own vehicles on church business?
This cover is not included in the Parishguard policy. Volunteers need to ensure their own motor insurance covers them for this use; most motor insurers automatically include this.
Outside groups using your premises
The public liability section of your policy covers hirers for occasional private social events. This applies only where no other insurance cover is in force.
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.