To which properties does health and safety legislation apply?
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 applies to all places where members of the congregation work or visit. Churches and places of worship are generally regarded as public places and also places of work because organists, church officers, cleaners and volunteers work there. A church hall may also be considered a workplace if, for example, the church officer, volunteer or cleaner also carries out work there. There is also a duty for any church-led or third-party activities taking place within the church and associated buildings and grounds.
Manses should not generally be regarded as places of work as they are considered residences for ministers and their families. However, parts of the manse are also equally regarded as a place of work where the minister is expected to receive people, hold meetings and operate a working office and administer their duties. The health and safety of the manse property should be considered by the Charity Trustees as the manse is an associated church building. The ministers and their families or any private tenants must be kept as safe as is reasonably practicable. Any health and safety concerns raised with the Charity Trustees by the minister or other tenants should be appropriately investigated and managed in line with the manse condition schedules recommendations.