Risk assessment for the re-opening of St Mary's Church on Aug 30th 2020
Risk Assessment for Opening Church Buildings to the Public
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.
Assessor’s name: Philip Miller (PHM) /Sue Morgan (SM)
(KS Kay Smith, PM Paula Matthews, DW Doreen Wood, GD Glyn Duffy, JB Jackie Broxton)
Date completed: 5.8.20
Review date: 17/8/20 (by PHM)
Next review after PCC examination
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 Entry - Main Church Door to be clearly marked 'Entrance' GD to source sign
KS to fix to Main Church Door 30/8/20 KS/PHM
A suitable lone working policy has been consulted if relevant. An example can be found here.
Not relevant here - -
Buildings have been aired before use. KS to open main door/emergency fire door as she arrives before the service KS 30/8/20 KS
Check for animal waste and general cleanliness. Check before each opening of church for worship KS 30/8/20 KS
Before each Sunday opening
Ensure water systems are flushed through before use.
See Government Guidance for organisations on supplying safe water supplies
Kitchen and toilet taps to be left on for 5 minutes and toilets flushed KS 30/8/20 KS
Switch on and check electrical and heating systems if needed. Commission system checks as necessary. Electrical/heating system has been used at 3 weekly intervals recently KS Last check 4/7/20 by KS
Next due 25/7/20
Holy water stoups and the font are empty. n/a - -
Ensure safe use of equipment needed for livestreaming: avoid exceeding safe load on sockets, cables/tripod causing trip hazard Has been used at 3 weekly intervals GD Last recording 25/7/20 by GD
No further recordings etc currently planned
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. White Hart to be informed when opening date fixed and Birch Kennels KS When opening date fixed KS
Update your website, A Church Near You, and any relevant social media. Opening date needs to be fixed PHM PHM before 30/8/20
Consider if a booking system is needed, whether for general access or for specific events/services Not needed here but protocol needs to be ready for any newcomers Doreen/Pauline
To be responsible if needed PHM/SM/KS to consider ongoing need for booking in
If opening to tourists consider applying for the Visit Britain ‘Good to Go’ standard mark Apply here.
Heritage Open Day protocols to be adhered to PM liaises with
HOD PM 12/9/20
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. Clergy have already accessed church in lockdown
Masks to be worn by all attendees PHM/SM
Sunday sheet to advise all attendees that masks required PHM 13/7/20
Review CofE guide on cleaning church buildings. Complete the ‘cleaning’ section of this risk assessment (below). Advice on cleaning church buildings can be found here.
Deep clean needed Kay/Doreen/ Pauline To be completed before opening for worship - by 30/8/20
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. Entry (see above) through Main Church Door; exit through emergency doors. Both to be clearly labelled Labelling provided (on request) by GD KS to fix labels prior to opening date by 30/8/20
Make any temporary arrangements for people to wait or queue outside the building (taking into account any consequential risks arising from people gathering outside). Probably not necessary but sign needed to remind of need to keep safe distance. GD has labels for floor if required KS to organise labels DW to fix labels as required prior to opening date
Where possible, doors and windows should be opened temporarily to improve ventilation. Windows to be open during worship
Fire door to be open during when possible (not in cold/bad weather) KS to open windows and doors 30 minutes prior to worship 30 minutes prior to start of weekly worship
Remove Bibles/literature/hymn books/leaflets All to be taken away and replaced by one-off service sheet KS has removed all paper material. GD to supply one-off sheets on request Already removed KS
Cordon off or remove from public access any devotional objects or items (if they are liable to be touched or closely breathed on) Candle lighting facility has been removed KS Already removed KS
Consider if pew cushions/kneelers need to be removed as per government guidance Kneelers can remain at Communion rail but HC will be given standing, in one kind in each person's place - priest wearing mask and visor will come down to each communicant No action needed Communicants to be reminded of standing Communion before each service by PHM SM
Remove or isolate children’s resources and play areas Not applicable - -
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). 10 people can fit in (easily) with safe distancing at 2m I.e. enough space for the existing congregation PHM SM KS GD Chairs will be arranged at distance before 30/8/20 KS
Clearly mark out seating areas including exclusion zones to maintain distancing. Usable seats to be left in situ, others put away. No exclusion zones KS to designate safe seats 30/8/20 KS
With help from PHM SM et al
Clearly mark out flow of movement for people entering and leaving the building to maintain physical distancing requirements. Arrows to show direction of movement through the church to be marked on the floor GD to source arrows and help KS to place them 30/8/20 KS
Limit access to places were the public does not need go, maybe with a temporary cordon in needed. Kitchen and hall out of bounds. No entry signs needed GD to source No entry signs and help KS to place them 30/8/20 KS
Determine placement of hand sanitisers available for visitors to use. Register with Parish Buying for procurement options.
2 sanitizers at each side of the back of church. One in each toilet PHM has sanitizing fluid if needed (also GD) KS to check all 4 sanitizers in place prior to 30/8/20
Determine if temporary changes are needed to the building to facilitate social distancing Consult advice on gaining temporary permissions.
Discussion needed between PHM SM KS AN Other Small numbers expected
Polite reminder to worshippers of physical distance need Priest to remind worshippers of safe physical distancing before each service from 30/8/20
Put up notices to remind visitors about important safe practices e.g. no physical contact, practice hand washing etc. Notice already made for Langley to be put up in church GD to source notice PHM to fix 29/8/20
Ensure high-risk surfaces and touch points have been wiped with appropriate sanitiser spray or disposable wipes Advice on cleaning church buildings can be found here.
Entry/exit/toilet door handles are the only things people need to touch apart from their seats. At least 72 hours between worship to allow for virus to die Doreen and Pauline DW to clean handles prior to each church opening date
Check that handwashing facilities have adequate soap provision and paper towels, and a bin for the paper towels. Register with Parish Buying for procurement options.
Check and confirmation needed for each separate occasion JB has paper towels
KS to check what is needed KS 30/8/20
Where there are toilet facilities, ensure an adequate supply of soap and disposable hand towels, and a bin for towels, are available. Register with Parish Buying for procurement options.
Extra Soap/hand towels from JB or ASM
New pedal bins purchased KS KS to check before each separate service
Ensure all waste receptacles have disposable liners (e.g. polythene bin bags) to reduce the risk to those responsible for removing them. DW to check bin has liners DW to place and replace liners DW Needs to be done before each separate service
If possible, provide safe means for worshippers and visitors to record their name and contact details; retain each day’s record for 21 days One person to record who is present including clergy and visitors - Track & Trace (GD has forms)
Details to be kept by DW in line with GDPR DW to ensure adequate supply of forms and pens DW to ensure worshippers sign in on each occasion
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. Tell neighbours across the road by phone KS KS 30/8/20
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. Church will not be open in between 72 hour periods - -
If 72-hour closure is not possible then check all cleaners are not in a vulnerable group or self-isolating. N/A - -
Set up a cleaning rota to cover your opening arrangements. Regular (weekly after each service) cleaning arrangements needed Doreen and Pauline Set up before 30/8/20 Doreen Pauline
All cleaners provided with gloves (ideally disposable). Register with Parish Buying for procurement options.
Gloves needed GD or JB Supply needed by 29/8/20
Suitable cleaning materials provided, depending on materials and if historic surfaces are to be cleaned. Register with Parish Buying for procurement options.
Anti-viral wipes needed DW? Supply needed by 29/8/20
Confirm person responsible for removing potentially contaminated waste (e.g. hand towels) from the site. ***DW? ***DW? ***Identify person before church re-opens
Confirm the frequency for removing potentially contaminated waste (e.g. hand towels) from the site – suggested daily removal. Weekly is enough - -
Cleaning the church after known exposure to someone with Coronavirus symptoms If possible close the church building for 72 hours with no access permitted. Church will be closed for at least 72 hours - -
If 72-hour closure is not possible then follow Public Health England guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings. Public Health England guidance available here.
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.
Doreen Pauline Shirley will clean monthly or deep clean (with PPE) after possible Covid infection indicated in Track Trace Monthly clean but deep clean needed after infection KS to determine need