Health & Safety Policy
Our policy is to ensure the Minster offers a safe environment and so far, as is reasonably practicable, that our activities are carried out safely and do not pose a risk to the health of our staff, volunteers, congregation, visitors, and others who may use the church, churchyard, or any other building we are responsible for. This will be in accordance with good practice and relevant statutory provisions where they apply.
This policy should be read in conjunction with the Minster’s Operational Handbook, Safeguarding Policy, Child Protection Policy and Emergency Evacuation and Contingency Planning Procedures
To ensure that Halifax Minster complies with the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
To encourage safe working practices for staff and volunteers.
1. BUILDINGS AND ACCESS
1.1. The buildings, their access points and surroundings must be checked regularly by the church wardens for hazards or potential hazards e.g., loose slates, uneven paving stones, slippery paths, potentially dangerous litter (needles, broken glass, etc.)
1.2. All visitors to the site should be encouraged to report potential hazards and staff must know who is responsible.
1.3. Staircases and steps should have safe and appropriate handrails and be checked for worn treads. At no time shall objects be placed on them or people allowed to congregate on them.
1.4. Asbestos. We will take steps to identify the presence of asbestos is our buildings and if so, assess any risk from it. We will implement any plan to manage that risk. We will also provide relevant information to others who might need it such as building contractors. We will keep records of the checks and assessments.
1.5. Bell ringing. We will ensure that adequate precautions are in place to protect the bell ringers and others that may enter the ringing room and bell chamber. This will include the emergency evacuation procedure, a safe means of heating, the provision of fire extinguishers, the provision of emergency lighting and the notification of safety procedures to visiting bell ringers.
1.6. Churchyard. We will ensure that the boundary walls, gates, and railings are kept in good repair, notifying Calderdale MBC accordingly of any work required. We will have the trees inspected by a competent person and have the necessary work carried out to make them safe. Headstones, tombs, and monuments will be inspected, at least annually, to ensure they are maintained.
1.7. Construction Work. Where maintenance, refurbishment and restoration work is planned for any of our buildings we will identify what we need to do to ensure the safety of all before works starts. We will seek specialist advice and information from competent persons and determine if we have any responsibilities under the Construction Design and Management Regulations and comply with these where necessary. The person responsible for this is the Architect.
1.8. Display Screen Equipment. Where our staff and volunteers regularly use computers daily for continuous periods, we will undertake workplace H&S Risk Assessments to identify measure and/ or precautions implementing these if necessary.
1.9. Events. Where we intend to hold public events such as arts, services, and fundraising events we will identify any additional precautions necessary and implement these. Where the Minster is used by Third Party, they will be expected to have their own Health and Safety Policy, Safeguarding Policy and Public Liability and Employer’s Liability Insurance.
1.10 Access to roof spaces and towers. We have in place ‘Safety Rules to be Observed When Ascending Circular Stairs to The Roof and Accessing the Roof Space’. Safety Rules include, but are not restricted to:
ü Seeking prior authorisation.
ü The wearing of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (P.P.E) including a facemask.
ü Access in daylight hours only.
ü If more that one person a ceasing, observing a safe distance.
ü Reporting back after descent.
Specific Precautions take into account the height of the space, the width of the stairway, the control of movement, the availability of competent person (such as Building Manager or Steward, or in the case of the Bell Tower- the Tower Captain), and the ease with which persons can be safely evacuated in case of emergency.
1.11. All users of the church, church hall, church yard or office will be made aware of the ‘Defect/Damage Report Form’ to record any defects or damage which they come across so that they can be forwarded to the Building Manager for their attention. The Form will be located in the kitchen and the office.
2. FURNITURE AND FITTINGS
2.1. Regular inspection is required for all furniture and fittings to ensure that they are not dangerous.
2.2. Dangerous furniture shall be removed immediately and either disposed or locked away until properly repaired.
2.3. No furniture or fittings shall be purchased or accepted as gifts until they have been checked to ensure that they comply with 2.1.
3. ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES
3.1. An annual inspection is required of all portable electrical equipment. This must be carried out by an electrical engineer and appliances must be tagged.
3.2. A 5-year inspection ( check ? ) is required of all fixed electrical equipment.
3.3. Both of these checks must be carried out by a certificated electrician.
3.4. No new or donated item of electrical equipment shall be used until it has been inspected.
3.5. All outdated electrical equipment must be disposed of.
3.6. All outdated electrical equipment must be disposed of.
3.7. Sockets in use in areas where children meet must be protected.
3.8. Special care must be taken with trailing wires.
3.9. Inspection should ensure that sockets are not being overloaded.
We will ensure that any oil or gas heating system is suitably maintained and checked annually by a competent person. Heating appliances used by children should be properly guarded.
4. FIRE PROCEDURES/EQUIPMENT
4.1. All fire exits must be clearly marked and remain unobstructed at all times.
4.2. Fire fighting equipment must be regularly maintained by an appropriate company.
4.3. The location of all fire fighting equipment must be clearly marked.
4.4. Fire fighting equipment should be of an appropriate type and, where necessary, advice should be taken from the Fire Service.
4.5. Fire alarms (If any) should be tested on a weekly basis and their testing recorded in a book reserved for that purpose.
4.6. Occasional fire drills should be carried out.
4.7. For large Services/functions fire officers should be designated with clear responsibilities for opening alternative exit doors and acting as stewards.
4.8. Staff should be aware of the procedures for bomb alerts.
4.9. Combustible material should not be allowed to accumulate in high-risk areas such as the boiler house or adjacent to electrical appliances.
4.10. There should be a clear evacuation procedure for the Minster.
SLIPS AND TRIPS
We will implement suitable precautions to prevent slips and trips, taking into account of any difficulties the frail elderly or disabled at have in negotiating access and egress. We will make periodic checks to ensure that floor coverings, steps and pathways remain in good condition free from obstruction and that handrails and lighting remain adequate. We will have arrangements in place to manage pathways in winter weather.
We will identify circumstances where our staff and volunteers work alone and implement precautions to ensure their safety such as a ‘Contact before, Contact After’ buddy system.
5. FIRST AID
We will provide adequate first aid facilities including, as a minimum, a suitably stocked first aid box and the first aiders will take charge of the first aid arrangements.
5.1. First aid boxes should be located:
ü One in church by the kitchen area.
ü One in the office
Their locations should be clearly marked, and contents should be checked and replenished weekly.
5.2. Accident boxes should be located:
ü One in church
ü One in the office
5.3. We will keep an accident book and record details therein. We will report to the enforcing authority and keep records of certain accidents to staff, volunteers, congregation, and members of the public in accordance with the Reporting of Injuries and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations. All accidents/incidents should be reported accident book.
5.4. The telephone in church and in the office should be maintained in good working order. It is recommended that an emergency telephone should be available in the office for the occasions when the office is locked.
5.5. Senior staff should be encouraged to train as First Aiders and other key volunteers, such as those working with young people should be encouraged to train.
5.6. Gloves should be provided with First Aid Boxes and staff and volunteers should have some awareness of HIV/AID precautions.
6. COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health 2002)
6.1. The Operations Manager should carry out an audit of all substances used in the church, church hall and office. These should include cleaning materials, disinfectants, paints, etc.
They should ensure that they all have their original labels clearly marked with their appropriate Health and Safety information and consider whether the substance is harmful and how staff might be exposed by:
- Contact with the skin.
- Contact with eyes.
- Skin puncture.
The COSSH 2002 Guide sets out a range of Control Measures and the Operations Manager will consult this document to implement the relevant measure where appropriate.
6.2. All hazardous substances should be stored in a locked cupboard when not in use.
6.3. Those in use must be kept out of reach of children.
6.4. Personal Protective Clothing (i.e. gloves, masks, footwear, overalls) must be available and used by all those using hazardous substances. It is a legal requirement to do so.
7. HEALTH AND HYGIENE
7.1. Toilets must be maintained in a clean and healthy condition and those to which the public in particular have access should be checked on a daily basis. There should be an adequate supply of paper, hand washing facilities and clean paper towels.
7.2. The kitchens should be maintained in clean conditions. Particular attention should be paid to areas where food is prepared and where food is stored in a way to avoid contamination. There should be regular checks to ensure it has not been abandoned or is past its sell by date. We will use a clean and disinfected work surface, utensils, and equipment.
7.3. Where water from taps and boilers is very hot. There should be a clear notice that says so.
7.4. Children should never be given access to the kitchens unless accompanied by an adult.
7.5. There should be proper provision for the disposal of nappies etc.
7.6. Volunteers who frequently prepare food on church premises (especially where others are paying for it) should be encouraged to take Health and Hygiene Courses to provide the requisite certificates.
7.7. Kitchen facilities must provide separate hand basins.
7.8. There must be hand washing provisions in all lavatories.
8. SAFE WORKING PRACTICES
Staff and Volunteers shall be encouraged in safe working practices.
8.1. We will ensure that any lifting, work or electrical equipment and church utilities are inspected as necessary to ensure they remain safe.
8.2. All persons should observe the H&S Executive’s Guide on Working at Height which defines a person working at height as:
- working on a ladder, trestle, steps, or flat roof.
- At risk of falling through a fragile surface.
- At risk of falling through an opening in a floor or hole in the ground.
Before Working at Height, one should consider:
- If one has sufficient skills, knowledge, and experience to perform the task.
- The weather conditions (when working externally)
- Whether it is possible to avoid working at height where it is practical to do so.
- Where it cannot be avoided, prevent falls using either an existing place of work that is already safe or use the right type of equipment.
- If it is possible to minimise the distance and consequences of a fall by using the right type of equipment.
- If one can do as much work as possible from the ground.
- If one can get safely to and from working at height.
- If the equipment is suitable, safe, and strong enough for the job.
8:3. Equipment such as ladders & steps should be checked weekly to ensure that they are safe to use
8.4 Where hazardous substances are in use or hazardous working conditions are in use the correct protective clothing must be provided and worn. (e.g., are there heavy leather gloves for removing syringes from the church yard and emptying bins?)
8.5 Contractors should have their own Health and Safety Policy, Processional Indemnity, Public Liability and Employer’s Liability Insurance.
9. TRAINING AND INFORMATION.
9.1. We will give information and training to our staff and volunteers in a timely manner. We will record what we provide. We will also give relevant information to contractors and specialists working on our behalf.
9.2. Senior staff should be trained in First Aid and other volunteers, particularly those working with young people should be encouraged to train in First Aid.
9.3. Fire drills should be carried out at intervals and incoming Wardens and Sides people should be briefed about the location of, and the use of fire- fighting equipment and First Aid materials and evacuation procedures.
9.4. Kitchen volunteers should be encouraged to train for the Health and Hygiene certificate.
9.5. Awareness of Health and Safety issues need to be raised among all Church and Hall users.
10.1. A series of check sheets should be devised, which will be used in conjunction with the Defect/Damage Report Forms so that a routine for weekly/daily/monthly/annual checks can be established and monitored.
10.2. The responsibility for Health and Safety lies with the Church Wardens and it should be their responsibility to monitor this and ensure that checks are made as appropriate.
11.1. It is the responsibility of:
- The Building Manager to carry out regular visual inspections of the buildings.
- Church Wardens to ensure that Health and Safety is monitored, and it is their responsibility to ensure that the buildings/contents and personal are properly insured.
- The Operations Manager to review this Policy and propose changes to the Fabric Committee for approval.
- The Operations Manager to undertake Workplace Risk Assessments of staff
11.2 All staff, volunteers, contractors, and external users have responsibility to cooperate in the implementation of this policy and take reasonable care of themselves and others whilst on church business or premises.
They will ensure that:
- They read this policy and understand what is required of them.
- Complete their work, taking any necessary precautions to protect themselves and others.
- Comply with any safety rules operating instructions and working procedures.
- Report any hazard, defect, or damage so it can be dealt with.
- Do not undertake any repair or modification unless they are competent to do so.
- Do not misuse anything provided or use it in a way that can cause a health and safety issue.