Health, Safety & Security

Health, safety, security and terrorism advice

Due care is required to provide a safe environment for all those visiting a church and its grounds whether for worship, pleasure or work. Up to date risk assessments and common sense policies are essential to ensure the safety of all those using a church and for the building and contents. For example, never work alone in a church building, always have access to a mobile phone or landline, make sure someone knows you are there and for how long. All policies should widely available and kept up to date so that anyone using the building knows how to react in an emergency.

In the event of any queries contact your insurer or local police force. If material changes to your church are suggested, please contact the DAC for advice. Always inform the police if you see anything that raises concern.

  • Record all incidents - under the 1995 Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, you must complete the statutory accident book and report incidents to the Local Environmental Health Department.

  • Write everything down - including statements from witnesses, where possible.

  • Appoint a health and safety sub-committee, including a member with specific responsibility for health and safety, who will ensure that risk assessments and procedures are followed. Make health and safety a regular agenda item at your PCC meetings.


Health & Safety General

Carry out regular risk assessments of each activity and part of the church.

Write a health and safety policy - it's your responsibility to show you have adequate arrangements in place.

Monthly Church Risk Prevention Planner

Health and Safety Policies for Churches

Health and Safety Self Assessment Form

Health & Safety Policy - Template to complete (EIG)

Health and Safety Checklist for Halls

Installing a community defibrillator (AEDs)




Ensure all equipment is regularly tested, fire-runs are kept clear and your church is regulalry de-cluttered

Fire Safety in Places of Worship - new

Fire Risk Assessments, sources of help

Fire Risk Assessment Form - Template to complete

Fire – Insurance Guidance Note



Record all incidents - under the 1995 Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, you must complete the statutory accident book and report incidents to the Local Environmental Health Department.

Write everything down - including statements from witnesses, where possible

Accident and Witness Report Form

Checklist to Avoid Slips, Trips & Falls

Health & Safety Assessment Form for Churches and Church Halls

Letting of Church Premises


Disability Access Advice

Access to Historic Buildings

Disabilities – providing for people with

Disabled Access Audit


Working with Food

Food Allergens

Food Allergens Display Poster

Food Hygiene Checklist

Foodbanks Guidance Notes

Catering advice for churches and charities providing food

Kitchen requirements and layout


Security in Churches

The Church of England has put up a new webpage, Safety and security in church buildings. It is mainly a list of publicly available resources to help prevent and minimise the impact of attacks or hate crimes and is relevant to church buildings generally, not just to C of E ones.


  • Run, Hide, Tell: information about what to do in the event of an incident: resources include a leaflet and an information film.
  • CitizenAID: resources for the general public to be prepared in the event of an attack: particularly focused on how to react following an incident in order to protect yourself and help save lives of others affected.
  • Action Counters Terrorism: the campaign, 'Make nothing happen', focuses on the critical role the public can play in defeating terrorism.
  • National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO): the latest guidance includes a section (page 19) on places of worship. The introduction says: 'This guide is intended to give protective security advice to those who are responsible for security in places of worship. It is aimed at those places where there may be a risk of a terrorist attack either because of the nature of the place of worship or the number of people who congregate in it. The guide seeks to reduce the risk of a terrorist attack and limit the impact an attack might cause.'
  • Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure: the Centre provides resources, guidance and expert advice to help protect and keep businesses secure from external threats: its latest guidance note was published following the London Bridge and Borough Market attack.
  • CSSC - helping businesses to remain safe: the Cross-sector Safety & Security Communications (CSSC) hub is a partnership between law enforcement agencies, local and national government organisations and private sector businesses which aims to help businesses remain safe and secure by providing information that will assist them to develop robust resilience and emergency preparedness plans. Currently operational in London, Scotland and the Eastern Region, it is set to expand across the UK in the future.


The main security value of a safe is that it substantially increases the time that a thief has to spend in order to gain access. It is further important that a safe cannot be easily removed.  Safes must always be fixed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions which may require bolting them to the floor. Please contact the DAC to see if this may require a faculty.

Many older safes are classified as fire resistant document safes, not safes for storing valuables, i.e. they have an aluminium  and padded back. If you tap the back of a document safe it sounds hollow and feels insubstantial. As these can be pulled away from the wall and the back opened with a knife, you are advised to consider a more robust model.

In addition to the theft of valuable items, there is growing evidence that registers are being targetted to supply the demand for  false identities. Ideally, safes should be of a modern design and conform to BS or EU standards. Further security advice can be found here

Guidance on safe types and location can be found here

Ecclesiastical Insurance offer advice on safe types and installation here


Other sources of advice

Church Security Advice including Arson, Alarms, Safes and Floodlighting

Keeping Your Church Open

Personal Safety Plan

General Security Advice Flow Chart

Terrorism Prevention Checklist

Terrorism reduction strategy