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It’s important that churches are safe places for people to visit and work. This guide gives you an overview of the responsibilities that churches face.

Do we need a Health and Safety policy?

Yes, you need an up-to-date Health and Safety policy to help fulfil your duty of care to your church members, volunteers and visitors. When setting up your policy 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 church meetings

  • Update your policy 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. Find out more .

Some of the main Health and Safety issues

  • Slips, trips and falls


    It is not just your congregation or visitors you need to consider; we often see claims involving employees and volunteers such as falling from a ladder while replacing a light bulb or tumbling down stairs while carrying church items

    Many accidents can be prevented by implementing the following:

    • Fixing down the edges of carpets, rugs and doormats or using an edge strip
    • Sweeping up leaves and removing snow and ice on footpaths
    • Displaying warning signs where appropriate.

    We have produced a handy checklist for you to take a look at.

    Find out more

  • Personal safety


    Some common sense advice for keeping safe in vulnerable situations such as if you are alone in a church or locking up after an event or service:

    • Try not to be in a situation where you are alone in the church
    • Have a personal attack alarm handy and make sure people know what to do if they hear it
    • Ensuring your mobile phone is easily accessible and in good working order.

    Find out more

  • Working from height


    Falling from height is a major cause of fatalities and severe injuries. Churches have a legal duty to provide protection for employees and volunteers under their control.

    The Health and Safety Executive consider it good practice to provide volunteers with the same level of protection as if they were employees. You can do this by introducing some of the following controls:

    • Proper planning and organising of the work taking place

    • Ensuring the person carrying out the work is competent or supervised by a competent person

    • Providing suitable work equipment - ladders should be suitably placed and footed

    Working at height should not be carried out where it is reasonably practicable to complete the work safely another way, only work at height if you have fully assessed the risk.

    Find out more

  • Volunteers


    There is cover for volunteers but you should take sensible precautions that 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 volunteers using their own vehicles on church business?

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

    Find out more

  • Does our policy cover outside groups that use our premises?

    Churches and church halls are used for everything from concerts and keep fit classes to business meetings. These activities can help your church’s involvement in the local community and generate a useful source of income.

    - The Public liability section of your policy covers hirers for occasional private social events on not more than three occasions, per hirer, per year. This applies only where no other insurance cover is in force.

    - There is no automatic cover under the Church Shield 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 the Methodist Church safeguarding policy or your District safeguarding contact. 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 undertake DBS checks.

Your responsibility for people on church premises  

What is liability insurance?

Liability insurance protects an individual, volunteer or organisation if they are held legally liable for personal injury or damage to property.

Your Church Shield policy includes both Employers’ and Public liability cover.

How to contact us

For help, call our dedicated customer services team (please have your policy number available) on:

0345 606 1331

(Monday to Friday 8am-6pm excluding bank holidays)

Or you can email -

Methodist Insurance PLC (MIC) Reg. No. 6369. Registered in England at Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester, GL1 1JZ. Methodist Insurance PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, Firm Reference Number 136423.