Keep Safety Simple

Published on August 18th, 2016

The entire concept of safety in places of worship easily can become overwhelming when we introduce technical terms such as risk management, liability, mitigation and the like. Keeping safety simple is the easiest approach to providing a secure environment for your congregation.

Identification and elimination of the basic common hazards is the first step in increasing the level of safety awareness throughout your congregation. In very simple terms, fire safety can be viewed as keeping what is hot away from what will burn.

A lot of common hazards can be corrected simply and by taking the time to properly evaluate your facility. Setting aside a few hours every month to review your plan is a great way to enhance the level of safeness in your worship facility.

Check for trip and fall hazards such as equipment cords stretched across walkways, wrinkled rugs, loose carpet and cracked or missing floor tiles to help reduce trip- and fall-related incidents. Evaluate stairways for properly secured handrails, slip-resistant steps and adequate lighting as another means to reducing injuries. Also, all emergency exits should be clearly marked, well lit and kept unlocked and free of obstructions when buildings are occupied.

Nursery areas should be evaluated to identify potential pull-over threats, such as a television cart or bookshelf improperly secured. Cabinets should be equipped with safety locks or latches. All electrical outlets in the nursery should be equipped with covers/plates to protect children from electric shock and possible execution. If you are replacing receptacles, we recommend using a tamper-resistant type. Cords from window coverings can present a potential strangulation hazard. Cordless window coverings are recommended in areas with young children to reduce the strangulation risk.

When evaluating your facility, we recommend that you identify and label potential risk areas as ‘high priority,’ ‘priority’ or ‘advisory.’ Risks labeled in the ‘high priority’ category are an immediate danger for loss of life or property and should be addressed quickly. Hazards labeled as ‘priority’ or ‘advisory’ should be addressed as soon as possible.

For more information on these and other insurance and risk control questions contact Don Inglis, Church Mutual Insurance at (800) 554-2642 or Dinglis@churchmutual.com.