Risk Assessment for Opening Church Buildings to the Public: individual prayer and funerals

 

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

 

 

Churches and cathedrals are legally permitted to open for purposes of individual private prayer from 13th June.

House of Bishops guidance provides for churches to open for funerals from 15th June.

 

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 individual private prayer. As well as offering guidance on best-practice, it is also intended to help parishes make a decision on whether to open for individual private prayer or not, based on their local circumstances, resources and context.

 

Future versions of this document will be produced when different forms of public worship and access are allowed.

 

A risk assessment relating to contractors and construction workers forms part of an updated document giving advice on access for these groups. This can be found on the Church of England Coronavirus pages.

Risk assessment template

 

Church:

S. Michael and All Angels, Abbey Wood

 

Assessor’s name:

 

Fr David Sherratt. Venue Manager.

 

On behalf of the Parchial Church Council.

Date completed:

 

15 June 2020

Developed from Risk Assessments of 8 June 2020 & 11 June 2020

 

Review date:

 

22 June 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

 

 

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

Entry to the Church is through a single door (i.e. Sacristy Door) for the person unlocking and opening.  Entry is possible with minimal surface contact, slightly more contact is necessary on exit.  This door will not be used by the Congregation or General Public.  The door handles have been regularly cleaned.

Entry to the Church will be by the SW door.  This can be secured open.  If possible, the inner door should be kept open, minimising the need to touch the door.

Notices are on all potential entrances to the church with the current regulation  of entry.

Fr D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fr D  08/06/2020

A suitable lone working policy has been consulted if relevant.

The PCC needs to visit this.  Currently nothing is in place.

It affects Clergy, the Hall cleaner, volunteers working in church.  It relates to things more generally however than to the current Pandemic.

The Wardens and the PCC

 

Buildings have been aired before use.

Given the size of the building and the generally free airflow this is not necessary.

Fr D

Fr D

Check for animal waste and general cleanliness.

The church was left in March in a clean state.  There is no evidence of the presence of rodents or birds.

Fr D

Fr D  08/06/2020

Ensure water systems are flushed through before use.

                                                           

Since the Clergy have been allowed back into church, the taps etc in the church and hall have been run weekly.

Fr D 

Fr D  08/06/2020

Switch on and check electrical and heating systems if needed.

The heating system remains on standby; it is not needed at the moment.

The electrical systems are working, although a fault was found with the Lady Chapel lighting, which trips.  It is recommended that the PCC arrange an electrician to check this.

Fr D 

Fr D  08/06/2020

Holy water stoups and the font are empty.

All public stoups are dry.

Blessed water is not kept in the font during Ordinary Time.

Fr D 

Fr D  08/06/2020

Preparation of the Church for individual prayer and funerals

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

The above steps have all been completed.  The only exception is the Lone Working Policy, which is responsibility of the PCC.  The PCC is unable to meet, but as far as possible its members have been informed of the need for this policy.

Fr D

Fr D  08/06/2020

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

.

Fr D

Fr D

08/06/2020

11/06/2020

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.

The entry to the church for clergy, officers and volunteers is by the Sacristy Door.  This is covered above.

Entry for the public will be by the SW door.  The Main doors can be fixed open.  The inner door should be left open.

Ensure the handles etc are cleaned regularly.

Appropriate Alcoholic gel or soap and water should be available for everyone at the entrance.

Notices by this and Sacristy entrance, advising on Social distancing, conduct etc.

It is possible to have the SE door as an exit point.  However the visibility and width of the SW doors, makes this unnecessary  unless there are very large numbers of people.  To use both doors involves additional factors in terms of increased cleaning and supervision.  It is proposed that signage etc to use sperate entrances and exits should be available if needed.

FR D

Fr D   16/06/2020

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

The church building is very large and spacious and has an adequate airflow, this should not be necessary.

N/A

N/A

Remove from use all books (inc. hymn books and Bibles) plus leaflets except single use material that will be removed by user.

All Hymn book, Service Bookss to be remived to the Sacristy.

Fr D

Fr D  16/06/2020

Cordon off or remove from public access any devotional objects or items

The Stature of OLW has been removed to the Sactury Area.  Notices will be provided near to other statues Icins etc.

No one is to ener the Sanctury areas.

Fr D

Fr D

11/06/2020

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

The Hassocks have been placed under chars.  This prevents their misuse as Cuscions!.  It means they can be used if a person chooses, Risk would seems to be low given that they are being knelt on in clothing.

Fr D

Fr D

11/06/2020

Remove or isolate children’s resources and play areas

The Items fron the ‘Kid Zone’ have been removed to the Parsh Room.  Notice designating this area has been removed.

Fr D

Fr D

11/06/2020

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.

The Church has been physically surveyed, with regard to the 2m guidance.

It is not envisaged that the altar rails will be used, and notices will be placed to ask people not to enter the sanctuary areas.

 

Fr D

11/06/2020

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

Labels will be attatched to chairs indicating if they are out of use etc.

Fr D

Fr D

15/6/20

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

Gicen the size of the church and its very widw asiles, the movement around the main body of the church does not present any problems with regard to socal Distancing.

Fr D 

Fr D

16/6/20

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

Notices marking off areas out of public access.  A barrier of chairs can be moved across the Lady Chapel, when it is not being used.

Fr D

Fr D

16/06/2020

Determine placement of hand sanitisers available for visitors to use.

 

Fr D

Fr D 11/06/2020

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

The church has been surveyed. a number of rows of chairs have been either moved or removed to enable distancing.

Fr D

Fr D

11/06/2020

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

 

Fr D

 

If the church has been used in the last 72 hours ensure high-risk surfaces and touch points have been wiped with appropriate sanitiser spray or disposable wipes.

.

Fr D or Cleaner

Fr D

11/06/2020

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

 

Fr D

 

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

It is not envisaged that the Hall toilets will in use by the general public during the openings for time of private prayer.  In preparation for the hall opening however Soap and paper towels need to be procured.

In addition to the recommended provision. Antiseptic wipes containing Alcohol could be available for those who wish to use them.

It is not planned to disconnect the hand dryer, as nothing suggests this.

Notices need to be put up regarding Social Distancing within the toilets.

It is not envisaged that the Hall toilets will in use by the general public during the openings for time of private prayer. In preparation for the hall opening however Soap and paper towels need to be procured.

In addition to the recommended provision. Antiseptic wipes containing Alcohol could be available for those who wish to use them.

It is not planned to disconnect the hand dryer, as nothing suggests this.

Notices need to be put up regarding Social Distancing within the toilets.

It is not envisaged that the Hall toilets will in use by the general public during the openings for time of private prayer. In preparation for the hall opening however Soap and paper towels need to be procured. 

In addition to the recommended provision. Antiseptic wipes containing Alcohol could be available for those who wish to use them.

It is not planned to disconnect the hand dryer, as nothing suggests this.

Notices need to be put up regarding Social Distancing within the toilets.

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

 

Fr D

Fr D

11.6.20

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.

With a daily mass this is very unlikely.

 

 

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

 

Fr D

 

Set up a cleaning rota to cover your opening arrangements.

 

Fr D

Fr D Discussed with a Warden

16/06/2020

All cleaners provided with gloves (ideally disposable).

 

Fr D

Fr D

08/06/2020

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

 

Fr D

Fr D

08/06/2020

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

Fr D or Cleaner if employed.

Fr D

 

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

 

FR D

 

Cleaning the church after known exposure to someone with Coronavirus symptoms

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

With a daily mass this will rarely be possible.

Fr D

 

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

 

Fr D

Fr D  16/06/2020

On going discussion.

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

With a daily mass this will rarely be possible

Fr D

 

 

ADDITIONAL PARISH ASSESSMENT PRIOR TO OPENING THE BUILDING FOR PRAYER BY GENERAL PUBLIC NOT PROVIDED FOR IN THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND RISK ASSESMENT

 

 

SPREAD OF THE VIRUS BY CONTACT WITH BOOKS, TOYS etc

 

Votive Candles

 

 

 

 

Monetary Donations.

 

A Candle to be lit in the votive stand when church is open so that matches, lighters do not need to be used.

 

Information for Phone/Internet banking to be displayed as the preferred way of giving.  A collection can be available by the entrance, but the money should be collected and counted using plastic disposable gloves etc.

Fr D

Fr D 16/6/20

 

LIMITATION OF CONTAMINATION

Maintain surfaces that need to be clean, preventing cross infection.

 

 

 

The Sanctuary areas used for mass around the Nave, High and Lady chapel Altars to have restricted Access ie Clergy.

Keep people with access to Sacristy and Parish room to a minimum and be able to account for who has access.

 

Fr D

Fr D 16/6/20

 

 

 

ACCESS TO GARDEN AND HALL.

Members of the public may want to visit the garden of remembrance, or the church grounds.

 

Access to the toilets.

 

 

 

Access should be external and via the baptistry gate.

Until we have the correct cleaning material and regime in place, the toilets should not normally be used.

Access should be by baptistry gate.

Fr D

Fr D 16/6/20

 

FIRE RISK FROM HAND GELS

Many antiepic hand gels carry are inflammable and so could produce a danger when lighting candles.

 

 

 

A notice should be in church to indicate this.  (On main entrance notice bord and in Sacristy)

The lighting of votive candles from another candle, suggested above reduces this risk.

Fr D

Fr D 16/6/20

 

SUPERVISION OF PEOPLE PRAYING.

 

 

 

 

 

Someone should be present on the premises when open.  This is threefold, firstly to prevent theft etc, secondly to ensure Social Distancing etc is observed.

Thirdly it is provide an element of welcome.

 

 

Fr D to monitor.

 

DEOTONAL POINTS

 

 

 

 

 

Consideration should be given to places that a particular focus of devotion, eg The Tabernacle, Staue of OL.  People praying could congregate there etc.

 

The Statue of OLW has been moved to the Sanctury area around the Nave Altar.

The Blessed Sacrament could be moved to the High Altar if there are large numbers potenialy present and the Lady Chapel closed off if the liturgical norms are followed.

Fr D

Fr D   16/6/ 20