In these times, it is always a good idea to start a safety program for your organization. However, many churches and non-profits still ask us “why do you need a safety program?” There are many answers, but the first answer is always; your building is a house of worship, and also in the same sense, it is a facility used by large numbers of people weekly. Accidents are just as likely to happen in a sanctuary or temple as in a school or other public buildings. Safety awareness is just as important at your facility as anywhere else.
Many religious facilities are very old, which means that wiring and plumbing, stairways and other fixtures might be antiquated, presenting an ever-increasing possibility of accident and injury. Your building should be thoroughly inspected at least twice a year, with routine repair and maintenance performed as needed.
The following are just some things that your organization should have or do to make your organization more safe:
- First Aid Kit – Every building should have at least 1 fully equipped kit. Please make sure that everyone also knows the location of this kit in case of an emergency.
- Give yourself a tour – This is an easy way to begin your safety program. Go through your building(s) and inspect everything, even your grounds outside. Make a list of potential hazards as you go. Then, you can set priorities for getting items fixed.
Many churches are starting to consider having security personnel present during their activities. It is always good to have people monitoring who is coming in and out of the building(s) during sponsored activities. This helps deter and prevent all types of situations. Recently, as a result of the rise in violent incidents, many church organizations are considering armed security personnel. It is always best to let your insurance know if you plan to do this and provide them with the information needed (such as, but not limited to: the type of weapon/gun, each person’s experience in security and with the weapon, as well as under what circumstance would they be permitted to use the weapon etc.). Many companies have Underwriting rules that need to be followed in order for them to include that exposure under the liability part of the commercial package policy.
That said, the attached are several documents that will help your organization develop a program for your safety concerns.
- Starting & Maintaining a Risk Management Team – This will provide you with information on how a team should be structured and organized.
2. Starting a Safety Ministry- This helps your organization understand that you should focus on three main concepts