Access to training
The General Trustees are providing access to additional training resources, to support Charity Trustees and presbyteries in achieving their local regulatory and compliance objectives for health and safety. This training is available via our training partner IHASCO.
Every congregation is required to have a dedicated health and safety co-ordinator or administrator. The congregation has a duty to ensure that the employee or volunteer in this post understands the subject matter and is competent to identify hazards and create a suitable and sufficient risk assessment for the activities undertaken at their church location.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require that employers appoint one or more competent persons to help them meet their legal duties for the health, safety and welfare of employees and volunteers. The HSE describes competence as a person's combined training, skills, experience and knowledge and their ability to perform a task safely. Other factors, such as attitude and physical ability, can also affect someone's competence.
The requirement to appoint a competent person does not mean you must recruit outside help. We believe that the best person to advise on congregational health and safety matters is a member of the congregation with knowledge and understanding of the relatively low-risk activities undertaken and familiarity with the church properties.
Church buildings and activities normally associated with places of worship are generally classed as low-risk in terms of health and safety. The Charity Trustees still have a duty to ensure that they provide their employees and volunteers with the relevant training, guidance and information to safely carry out their roles.
The General Trustees have acknowledged that the local Charity Trustees will require assistance in ensuring competency and compliance across the congregational buildings. The health and safety administrator or co-ordinator role is predominantly a voluntary position and the associated cost of training, guidance and information can understandably create additional barriers in the recruitment and training process.
In addition to training support, the congregations and presbytery will still have full access to the General Trustees Health and Safety professionals for ongoing assistance with the training, guidance and oversight of any complex issues identified at each location, to ensure each congregation and associated presbytery can demonstrate ongoing compliance and health and safety management.
The General Trustees have funded and allowed access to a suite of training courses free of charge for congregational and presbytery use. The e-learning modules are aimed at raising awareness and competency levels across the congregations for common hazards and risks associated with church buildings. We recommend fabric convenors and appointed health and safety persons from each congregation and presbytery undertake the e-learning modules.
The e-learning modules are specifically aimed at the common hazards and risks associated with church buildings, but there is an additional library of other topics which may be considered useful depending on the activities and tasks undertaken at each location.
You can register for access to the training via IHASCO’s website. Access will only be granted to congregational or presbytery members by the GT’s training administrator.