The new year means new resolutions, new goals and new possibilities. That being said, the start of the year is a great time for churches to review their safety procedures and policies. With 13 easy-to-follow safety tips, consider resolving to take specific steps towards a safer worship center in 2013. These valuable tips could potentially prevent a distressing accident from occurring and save lives. Start 2013 off on the right foot with these 12 Need-to-Know Safety Tips:
1. Establish a Safety Ministry
Form a Safety Team whose responsibility is to address the broad range of risks that your church faces. By utilizing this team, you will be able to identify and minimize your church’s greatest areas of risk.
2. Facility Inspections
Execute a regular facility inspection process of your buildings and grounds to protect against risks, such as fires, falls and crimes.
3. Fire Safety
Like any disaster, a fire can bring panic and chaos. To avoid these states of mind, it is important to prepare for fires by creating a basic plan and installing essential safety systems. For churches, it is especially important to consider evacuation of the elderly, disabled, small children and infants.
4. Background Checks
Conducting criminal background checks on the people who work or volunteer with children and youth in your church is a key safeguard in their protection.
5. Playground Safety
Thousands of children visit an emergency room every year due to an injury sustained on a playground. Appropriate measures should be taken to reduce the risk of injury.
6. Electrical Safety
Evaluate the state of your electrical systems using an Electrical Self-Assessment Survey. By completing an electrical self-assessment survey on each building, you will be able to identify any electrical concerns and take corrective action, thus reducing your chances of an electrical fire.
7. Protect Your Money
Maintain and control your finances in 2013 by developing a financial policy. The policy should address procedures for handling funds from the time collections are taken until money is distributed. It is important to remember that we are called to take care of those people and possessions God has trusted to our care. This includes the finances that keep ministry alive in our churches.
8. Food Preparation
While your employees and/or volunteers have the best intentions, accidental oversights could cause a major outbreak of food poisoning. To curtail food risk, a written policy regarding food preparation safety can be developed by your church, and all employees and/or volunteers who work in the kitchen should be required to train on the policies and procedures.
9. Volunteer/Employee Safety
For many, the safety of one’s employees and volunteers is a top priority. Whether it is injury and illness prevention, ergonomics or employment practices.
10. Festival Safety
It is important to inspect your grounds and facilities before the time of your festival, looking particularly for slip-and-fall dangers and other potential hazards. It is recommended that you follow an established inspection checklist.
11. Transportation – Vehicle Self Inspections
If you’re planning a trip, be sure to add a Vehicle Self Inspection to your list. Whether you’re driving a church-owned or private vehicle, it’s critical you take the preventative measures that reduce risk of injury or death.
12. Slips and Falls
Slips and falls are second only to vehicle accidents as the primary cause of accidental deaths. Reduce the risk of slips and falls this year by taking the necessary steps to prevent them.
By improving the safety of your church now, you could prevent a heart-breaking incident from taking place down the road. Just one accident prevented will have been well worth the time and effort that you invest to make your church a safer place. Make 2013 your best thus far by taking these precautions.