As a trustee of the building, you have a duty of care to protect people from harm. This includes taking reasonable steps to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19 to those who use the building. This is called a risk assessment and it will help you manage risk. You need to consider:
- Identifying what activity or situations might cause transmission of the virus.
- Think about who could be at risk.
- Decide how likely it is that someone could be exposed.
- Act to remove the activity or situation, or if this is not possible, control the risk.
- How to track incidents in an accident log book in accordance with the Health & Safety policy for the church/circuit
1. Physical Distancing
Questions to Consider
- In our building, where will social distancing be more difficult?
- What areas or tasks are more likely to increase the risk? How can we change work and tasks so people keep 2m apart or are separate?
- Can we re-organise our building to reduce the likelihood that coronavirus will spread?
- Do we need to add or change things in our building to reduce the likelihood of spreading coronavirus?
- If the building is listed, any changes need to be sensitive and reversible.
You should think about how you can organise the building so that you can keep both users and visitors 2m apart, where possible:
- Physically arrange communal areas to keep people 2m apart.
- Mark areas using tape or floor paint to help people keep a 2m distance.
- Provide signage to remind people to keep a 2m distance.
- Using screens to create a physical barrier between people.
- Use more than one exit or entry to reduce numbers of people coming together.
- Set up a register to track who enters the building. Provide easily accessible hand sanitiser and ask people to bring their own pen.
- Permit only essential trips within the building to maintain social distancing as much as possible.
- Social distancing also to be adhered to in communal areas.
- Leave doors open that can be left open (taking fire safety and security issues into consideration) to reduce the need for people to touch door handles.
Where you cannot keep a 2m physical distance, you should think about:
- Put in place systems such as ‘one in, one out’ in communal areas if it is not possible to maintain social distancing.
- Assigning one person per area or reducing the number of people in the area.
- Assigning people to teams (sometimes known as a cohort), that is people working on the same teams to limit social interaction.
- Keeping the number of people working less than 2m apart to a minimum.
You need to think about how to keep the areas being used in the building clean and prevent transmission by touching contaminated surfaces. You should consider the following:
- What areas or items of the building are regularly touched and would need cleaning and sanitising?
- What can we do to reduce the need to clean or to make cleaning easier and more effective?
- Who will do the cleaning?
What needs cleaning and sanitising?
- Common areas of the building that are likely to have areas that need cleaning such as door handles, light switches and reception areas.
- Identify objects and surfaces that are touched regularly and decide how frequently you clean them.
- When receiving or handling goods, you will need to decide what cleaning is needed and talk about how to make sure it’s done.
Making cleaning easier and reducing the need to clean
- Keeping surfaces clear of objects makes it easier to clean and reduces the number of things that can become contaminated.
- Put in place ‘clean as you use systems’ for areas such as meeting rooms, printers etc., to keep up with cleaning requirements.
- If customers or others need to come to your work, put in place measures to clean after the visit.
Who will do the cleaning and when?
- Decide if the current cleaning arrangements are enough to ensure adequate cleaning. You may choose different levels of cleaning for different areas. Deep cleaning once a day and then supplementary cleaning, e.g. wiping high contact surfaces throughout the day.
- Providing information and instruction to those doing the cleaning to ensure they know what to clean and how to make it effective.
- ‘Clean and sanitise as you go’ may need to be put in place for areas such as meeting rooms, printers etc.
- Signs around the workplace can be a good way of letting people know what they need to do to keep it clean and sanitised.
- If people cannot clean straight after touching surfaces, then provide hand sanitiser.
- For higher-risk cleaning areas (toilets, etc.), you will need to ensure people know what to do to protect themselves.
3. Good Hygiene
You need to think about:
- Ensuring that you have handwashing facilities that provide running water, soap and paper towels and reminding to wash regularly for 20 seconds.
- Replace hand dryers with paper towels and bins that are emptied frequently to safely dispose of waste.
- Providing handwashing facilities (running water, soap and paper towels) at entry and exit points. People should be able to wash their hands when they arrive and leave. If this is not possible, provide hand sanitiser.
- Providing hand sanitiser in multiple areas in addition to washing facilities.
- Providing tissues throughout the building.
- Using signs and posters to increase awareness of good handwashing technique – reminding those in the building to catch coughs and sneezes in tissues and to avoid touching face, eyes, nose or mouth with unclean hands.
- Setting clear guidance for the cleaning of toilets, showers and changing facilities to make sure they are kept clean.
4. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Face Masks and Gloves
- Face coverings and gloves are not a replacement for social distancing and regular handwashing, which remain the most important actions.
- The government has advised people to consider wearing face coverings in enclosed public spaces, which would include churches, to help reduce the spread.
- Public urged not to buy medical grade masks so they can be saved for frontline health and care workers, and instead make their own face coverings at home.
5. Church Service
Questions to Consider
- Consider this to be a transition phase from lockdown to a “normal” Church service. What service can be offered considering the government restrictions?
- Does our worship building (environment) meet government requirements for an indoor program? What can we do to make our environment safe for all our users?
- As a transition period, how much time will be needed to safely gather indoors?
You should think about how you can have a safe worship experience for all attendees:
- Ensure that there are sufficient rooms (with space) available for the different activities.
- Mark definite times for opening and closing the building.
- Ensure proper ventilation is available for the number of people present.
- Consider effective ways to return tithe and give offerings.
- Ensure those counting money have the necessary PPE.
- Ensure the effective cleanliness of AV equipment and music instruments.
- Close the Church library.
- Do not share hymnals or Bibles.
6. Information and Guidance
Questions to consider:
- What information do those who use the building need to make sure they understand how to keep safe during the outbreak?
- Who else do we need to share information and guidance with and what is the best way to do it?
- How will people know when information and guidance is updated?
Making sure you pass on the correct information and guidance to those using the building is an important part of reducing risk.
- Decide what people need to know so they can use the building safely.
- Decide the best way to pass on information and guidance to those using the building.
- People often need to hear messages more than once and in different ways to remember. Think about ways to reinforce the message.
- Think about how to interact with those who do not regularly use the building such as contractors and delivery drivers. Plan how to share relevant information on how to socially distance, where they wash their hands and the arrangements for using communal areas.
Updating information and guidance
- Be prepared by thinking about what measures can be put in place to update people in the event of adapting the current guidance.
- Decide if the current ways of sharing information and guidance are enough to update people or if you need to do more.
- As information is key to reducing risk, decide how you are going to make sure that everyone who needs the information gets it.
Ensure that all those who use the building know what the current guidelines are about self-isolation if they or someone in their home has symptoms.
- Agree how you will let people who use the building know that you are self-isolating and make sure that you don’t go into the building.
- Agree how you will look after someone who falls ill in the building. Do you need to isolate them until they can go home? Where will that be? What do you need to do to clean afterwards?
- Decide what support and reassurance needs to be in place for the person who is self-isolating and agree what support and reassurance will be in place for other people in the building.
Following is the form approved to use and adapt for your own congregations (in the Mission). The pastor and local church leadership need to fill it in as per churches’ own circumstances and needs and then send it to the Admin with a two to three days window so that it can be studied and feedback given (when and if necessary).
The Executive voted that only churches who have filled in the risk assessment form and have it signed off by the Admin can reopen. The Executive voted the process, the tool (form) and official starting date for churches that are ready to reopen in our Mission as 11 July.
Name of Church:
Date of Initial Assessment:
Assessment undertaken by:
Area of the building assessed:
Assessment Review Date:
Think about the areas where contact
Think of anyone who might have
|Additional Covid-19 Controls – |
Think of what changes could be made
in each scenario to reduce
the spread of Covid-19
What needs to be done and by whom?
Form to download (Word Document).