Covid-19 Risk Assessments

Risk Assessment for Public Worship

 

Version Control 

Issue Date 

Version Number 

Issued by 

22nd May 2020

1

The House of Bishops COVID-19 Recovery Group

8th June 2020

2

The House of Bishops COVID-19 Recovery Group

12th June 2020

3

The House of Bishops COVID-19 Recovery Group

1st July 2020

4

The House of Bishops COVID-19 Recovery Group


 

Churches and cathedrals have been legally permitted to open for purposes of individual private prayer from 13th June. House of Bishops guidance provided for churches to open for funerals from 15th June. Public worship, with measures in place for social distancing, are allowed from 4th July. Other activities, except for a few still prohibited by law, may also take place in churches, subject to the government guidance in place for the relevant sector.

 

The government guidance for the safe use of places of worship during the pandemic requires a COVID-19 risk assessment to be carried out for every building and site open to the public. This document provides a template risk assessment, with links to the relevant advice notes. It relates to opening up church and cathedral buildings to clergy and members of the public entering for any permitted purposes. As well as offering guidance on best-practice, it is also intended to help parishes make a decision on whether to open for any or all of these purposes or not, based on their local circumstances, resources and context. You should read the advice on re-opening buildings and the guidance on public worship before completing this assessment. Both are available on the Church of England Coronavirus pages.

 

Future versions of this document will be produced when there is any substantive change to the guidance on the safe use of places of worship.

 

A separate risk assessment relating to contractors and construction workers is available on the Church of England Coronavirus pages.


 

 

Carrying out a risk assessment

 

  1. Agree what activities you are planning for:

    • Private prayer (clergy only)

    • Livestreaming services (clergy only)

    • Private prayer (general public)

    • Public worship

    • Rites of passage services

    • Opening for visitors and tourists

 

  1. Consider the hazards:

    • Transmission of COVID-19

    • Hazards arising from the temporary closure of the church

    • Hazards arising from now using the church in a different way

 

Read the guidance and think about how it relates specifically to your church. What constraints are there? Consider how people will arrive at the church, including if they will need to wait or queue outside; how people will enter and leave the church; circulation inside: from the entrance to the worship space and out again; circulation within the worship space; also access to other areas including the toilet(s).

 

  1. Consider who might be harmed and how? Read the guidance and think about how the activities you are planning will affect different groups of people. The risks are not different for larger churches so long as they are properly managed, but having more people coming through your building makes the possible impact – for example of someone with COVID-19 coming into contact with others – higher than in smaller venues with fewer people. Consider your particular circumstances and adapt the checklist below as appropriate.

 

  1. Using the risk assessment checklist below as a template:

    • add in mitigations for any risks that are particular to your circumstances that may not be on the list;

    • record what you need to do for each activity to go ahead safely;

    • consider any equipment you need and any temporary changes you might need to make to the church;

    • check back against your list of activities to confirm which ones can go ahead and when.

 

 

Risk assessment template

 

Church: Gravesend St Aidan


 

Assessor’s name: Rev'd Michael Payne


 

Date completed:

2nd July 2020

Review date:

10th October 2020


 

Area of Focus 

Controls required 

Additional information

Action by whom?

Completed – date and name 

Access to church buildings for clergy for purposes of private prayer and/or livestreaming

 

General advice on accessing church buildings can be found here.

One point of entry to the church building clearly identified and separate from public entry if possible- Powerhouse Doors

Powerhouse doors

   

A suitable lone working policy has been consulted if relevant.

N/A

   

Buildings have been aired before use.

 

Vicar

 

Check for animal waste and general cleanliness. 

 

Vicar

 

Ensure water systems are flushed through before use.

 

See Government Guidance for organisations on supplying safe water supplies 

Vicar/Health and Safety Officer

 

Switch on and check electrical and heating systems if needed. Commission system checks as necessary.

 

Vicar/ H&S Officer

 

Holy water stoups and the font are empty.

No Stoups

Vicar

 

Ensure safe use of equipment needed for livestreaming: avoid exceeding safe load on sockets, cables/tripod causing trip hazard

N/A

   

Deciding whether to open to the public

Discuss with nearby venues and businesses to ensure that the timing and practical arrangements for using the church are compatible.

N/A

   

Update your website, A Church Near You, and any relevant social media.

Weekly Updates

Vicar

 

Consider if a booking system is needed, whether for general access or for specific events/services

Booking system for services

Vicar/Wardens

 

If opening to tourists consider applying for the Visit Britain ‘Good to Go’ standard mark

N/A

N/A

 

Preparation of the Church for access by members of the public for any permitted purposes, including worship and tourism

Confirm that all steps (above) for access by clergy have been carried out before anyone else accesses the building.

Yes

Vicar/wardens

 

Review CofE guide on cleaning church buildings. Complete the ‘cleaning’ section of this risk assessment (below).

 

Vicar/Wardens

 

Choose one point of entry into the church to manage flow of people and indicate this with notices, keeping emergency exits available at all times. Where possible use a different exit.

Entrance: Powerhouse (WCs for handwashing)

Exit: Main doors (hand sanitizer available)

   

Make any temporary arrangements for people to wait or queue outside the building (taking into account any consequential risks arising from people gathering outside).

Ground marked with tape 

Vicar

 

Where possible, doors and windows should be opened temporarily to improve ventilation.

Windows opened 30 mins beforehand.

Wardens

 

Remove Bibles/literature/hymn books/leaflets

Done

Vicar

 

Cordon off or remove from public access any devotional objects or items (if they are liable to be touched or closely breathed on)

N/A

   

Consider if pew cushions/kneelers need to be removed as per government guidance

Not necessary due to 72 hours between services

   

Remove or isolate children’s resources and play areas

Done

Vicar

 

Walk through the church to plan for physical distancing in seats, aisles, at the altar rail, including safe flow of visitors. Remember 2m in all directions from each person (or 1m with risk mitigation if absolutely necessary).

Done

Vicar and Standing Cttee

 

Clearly mark out seating areas including exclusion zones to maintain distancing.

Done

Vicar

 

Clearly mark out flow of movement for people entering and leaving the building to maintain physical distancing requirements.

Done

Vicar

 

Limit access to places were the public does not need go, maybe with a temporary cordon in needed.

 

Powerhouse stairs and pulpit steps cordoned off.

 

Determine placement of hand sanitisers available for visitors to use.

Done

Vicar/PCC Treasurer

 

Determine if temporary changes are needed to the building to facilitate social distancing

N/A

   

Put up notices to remind visitors about important safe practices e.g. no physical contact, practice hand washing etc.

Done

Vicar

 

Ensure high-risk surfaces and touch points have been wiped with appropriate sanitiser spray or disposable wipes

Following each service, if second service added on same day

Vicar/PCC

 

Check that handwashing facilities have adequate soap provision and paper towels, and a bin for the paper towels.

Done

   

Where there are toilet facilities, ensure an adequate supply of soap and disposable hand towels, and a bin for towels, are available.

Done

   

Ensure all waste receptacles have disposable liners (e.g. polythene bin bags) to reduce the risk to those responsible for removing them.

Done

   

If possible, provide safe means for worshippers and visitors to record their name and contact details; retain each day’s record for 21 days

     

Give due notice of the resumption of use of the building to neighbours, congregation and wider community, ensuring that visitors and worshippers will know what to expect when they come.

Social media, website, notice boards

   

Cleaning the church before and after general use (no known exposure to anyone with Coronavirus symptoms)

 

Advice on cleaning church buildings can be found here.

If the church building has been closed for 72 hours between periods of being open then there is no need for extra cleaning to remove the virus from surfaces.

     

If 72-hour closure is not possible then check all cleaners are not in a vulnerable group or self-isolating.

Done

   

Set up a cleaning rota to cover your opening arrangements.

Done, regarding 72 hr gaps.

In the case of extra services on Sundays: rota-d cleaners to clean 'high touch' surfaces such as doors, door handles, pew ends and book ledges, light switches, window fastenings, prayer desks, etc.

   

All cleaners provided with gloves (ideally disposable).

Done

   

Suitable cleaning materials provided, depending on materials and if historic surfaces are to be cleaned.

Done

   

Confirm person responsible for removing potentially contaminated waste (e.g. hand towels) from the site.

 

Vicar/Warden(s)

 

Confirm the frequency for removing potentially contaminated waste (e.g. hand towels) from the site – suggested daily removal.

Twice-weekly, as per service schedule

   

Cleaning the church after known exposure to someone with Coronavirus symptoms

If possible close the church building for 72 hours with no access permitted.

Planned for

   

If 72-hour closure is not possible then follow Public Health England guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings.

72 hr closure is possible.

   

If the building has been quarantined for 72 hours, then carry out cleaning as per the normal advice on cleaning.

Advice on cleaning church buildings can be found here.

   

 

 

 

 

Risk Assessment for Opening the Church Hall (St Aidan's Church Hall/Christopher Centre)

 

Version Control 

Issue Date 

Version Number 

Issued by 

6th August 2020

5

The House of Bishops COVID-19 Recovery Group

 

This update includes risk factors around the requirement to wear face coverings in places of worship from 8th August.

 

Churches and cathedrals have been legally permitted to open for purposes of individual private prayer from 13th June. House of Bishops guidance provided for churches to open for funerals from 15th June. Public worship, with measures in place for social distancing, are allowed from 4th July. Other activities, except for a few still prohibited by law, may also take place in churches, subject to the government guidance in place for the relevant sector.

 

The government guidance for the safe use of places of worship during the pandemic requires a COVID-19 risk assessment to be carried out for every building and site open to the public. This document provides a template risk assessment, with links to the relevant advice notes. It relates to opening up church and cathedral buildings to clergy and members of the public entering for any permitted purposes. As well as offering guidance on best-practice, it is also intended to help parishes make a decision on whether to open for any or all of these purposes or not, based on their local circumstances, resources and context. You should read the advice on re-opening buildings and the guidance on public worship before completing this assessment. Both are available on the Church of England Coronavirus pages.

 

Future versions of this document will be produced when there is any substantive change to the guidance on the safe use of places of worship.

 

A separate risk assessment relating to contractors and construction workers is available on the Church of England Coronavirus pages.


 

 

Carrying out a risk assessment

 

  1. Agree what activities you are planning for:

    • Private prayer (clergy only)

    • Livestreaming services (clergy only)

    • Private prayer (general public)

    • Public worship

    • Rites of passage services

    • Opening for visitors and tourists

 

  1. Consider the hazards:

    • Transmission of COVID-19

    • Hazards arising from the temporary closure of the church

    • Hazards arising from now using the church in a different way

 

Read the guidance and think about how it relates specifically to your church. What constraints are there? Consider how people will arrive at the church, including if they will need to wait or queue outside; how people will enter and leave the church; circulation inside: from the entrance to the worship space and out again; circulation within the worship space; also access to other areas including the toilet(s).

 

  1. Consider who might be harmed and how? Read the guidance and think about how the activities you are planning will affect different groups of people. The risks are not different for larger churches so long as they are properly managed, but having more people coming through your building makes the possible impact – for example of someone with COVID-19 coming into contact with others – higher than in smaller venues with fewer people. Consider your particular circumstances and adapt the checklist below as appropriate.

 

  1. Using the risk assessment checklist below as a template:

    • add in mitigations for any risks that are particular to your circumstances that may not be on the list;

    • record what you need to do for each activity to go ahead safely;

    • consider any equipment you need and any temporary changes you might need to make to the church;

    • check back against your list of activities to confirm which ones can go ahead and when.

 

 

Risk assessment template

 

Parish: St Aidan, Gravesend


 

Assessor’s name: Rev'd Michael Payne


 

Date completed:

25.8.2020

Review date:

25.10.2020


 

Area of Focus 

Controls required 

Additional information

Action by whom?

Completed – date and name 

Access to Hall for church groups, external hirers and as a place of worship.

 

General advice on accessing church buildings can be found here.

One point of entry to the  building clearly identified 

Main entrance/exit

Done

In each case this RA is maintained by parish staff/Vicar.

A suitable lone working policy has been consulted if relevant.

N/A

   

Buildings have been aired before use.

Routine practice

Booking Secretary/parish staff

 

Check for animal waste and general cleanliness. 

Routine practice

As above

 

Ensure water systems are flushed through before use.

 

Done and will be routinely checked.

As above

 

Switch on and check electrical and heating systems if needed. Commission system checks as necessary.

Periodic checks regularly carried out

Parish H&S officer

 
       

Ensure safe use of equipment needed for livestreaming: avoid exceeding safe load on sockets, cables/tripod causing trip hazard

N/A

   

Deciding whether to open to the public

Discuss with nearby venues and businesses to ensure that the timing and practical arrangements for using the church are compatible.

No compatibility issues.

   

Update your website, A Church Near You, and any relevant social media.

     

Consider if a booking system is needed, whether for general access or for specific events/services

Each hirer will closely monitor attendance as per capacity which may vary according to event.

Hirers must stipulate their capacity and attendance procedures in their RA.

 

If opening to tourists consider applying for the Visit Britain ‘Good to Go’ standard mark

N/A

   

Face Coverings

Currently mandatory

Hirers are responsible for ensuring attenders use face coverings. Signage in place

   

Preparation of the Hall for access by members of the public for any permitted purposes, including worship and tourism

Confirm that all steps (above) for access by clergy/church officers have been carried out before anyone else accesses the building.

Done

Vicar/parish officers in each case below

 

Review CofE guide on cleaning church buildings. Complete the ‘cleaning’ section of this risk assessment (below).

Done

   

Read the CofE guide on face coverings and produce signage or other relevant materials to indicate compliance with the law requiring these for all except those exempt.

Done

   

Choose one point of entry into the building to manage flow of people and indicate this with notices, keeping emergency exits available at all times. Where possible use a different exit.

Different exit not possible, except in emergency. Safe management of movement required at entrance.

   

Make any temporary arrangements for people to wait or queue outside the building (taking into account any consequential risks arising from people gathering outside).

2m distance marked on ground

   

Where possible, doors and windows should be opened temporarily to improve ventilation.

Routinely observed

   

Remove Bibles/literature/hymn books/leaflets

N/A

   
       
       

Remove or isolate children’s resources and play areas

N/A

   

Walk through the Hall to plan for physical distancing in seats, aisles, at the altar rail, including safe flow of visitors. Remember 2m in all directions from each person (or 1m with risk mitigation if absolutely necessary).

No 1m mitigation.

Hirer and church staff to agree capacity for each event within gov't limits. 2m distance to be applied.

   

Clearly mark out seating areas including exclusion zones to maintain distancing.

Hirers are responsible for this, as seating is cleared by hirer after each period of hire.

   

Clearly mark out flow of movement for people entering and leaving the building to maintain physical distancing requirements.

As above, as the floor space is used differently according to event.

   

Limit access to places where the public does not need go, maybe with a temporary cordon if needed.

As above

   

Determine placement of hand sanitisers available for visitors to use.

Available, but hirers are encouraged to supply sanitizing equipment. 

   

Determine if temporary changes are needed to the building to facilitate social distancing

N/A

   

Put up notices to remind visitors about important safe practices e.g. no physical contact, practice hand washing etc.

Done

   

Ensure high-risk surfaces and touch points have been wiped with appropriate sanitiser spray or disposable wipes

Daily and weekly deep clean

   

Check that handwashing facilities have adequate soap provision and paper towels, and a bin for the paper towels.

Checked daily

   

Where there are toilet facilities, ensure an adequate supply of soap and disposable hand towels, and a bin for towels, are available.

Checked daily

   

Ensure all waste receptacles have disposable liners (e.g. polythene bin bags) to reduce the risk to those responsible for removing them.

Hirers remove rubbish from site in sealed bags.

   

If possible, provide safe means for worshippers and visitors to record their name and contact details; retain each day’s record for 21 days

Hirers are to supply the means to record this data.

   

Give due notice of the resumption of use of the building to neighbours, congregation and wider community, ensuring that visitors and worshippers will know what to expect when they come.

Hirers contacted. Only long term bookings are being taken at present.

   

Cleaning the church before and after general use (no known exposure to anyone with Coronavirus symptoms)

 

Advice on cleaning church buildings can be found here.

If the building has been closed for 72 hours between periods of being open then there is no need for extra cleaning to remove the virus from surfaces.

Building will be used daily in term time.

   

If 72-hour closure is not possible then check all cleaners are not in a vulnerable group or self-isolating.

Done

   

Set up a cleaning rota to cover your opening arrangements.

Done

   

All cleaners provided with gloves (ideally disposable).

Done

   

Suitable cleaning materials provided, depending on materials and if historic surfaces are to be cleaned.

Done

   

Confirm person responsible for removing potentially contaminated waste (e.g. hand towels) from the site.

 

Cleaner/church officer

 

Confirm the frequency for removing potentially contaminated waste (e.g. hand towels) from the site – suggested daily removal.

Daily in term time.

   

Cleaning the church after known exposure to someone with Coronavirus symptoms

If possible close the building for 72 hours with no access permitted.

Not possible in term time (unless a major outbreak)

   

If 72-hour closure is not possible then follow Public Health England guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings.

Done

   

If the building has been quarantined for 72 hours, then carry out cleaning as per the normal advice on cleaning.

Noted.

   

 


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