Having a safety officer in your church is an important step towards risk management and safety for your members. The safety officer is able to dedicate time towards inspecting church grounds, scheduling maintenance and repairs, and even alerting the board of the safety risks that may come up during the next church event. However, the safety officer cannot work alone. This is why it is crucial to have a church safety committee.
What is a Church Safety Committee?While the safety officer may be the person of contact for all risk management and safety matters, the committee helps the officer to carry out needed tasks. Whether it is a church of 50 or 5,000, every safety officer needs the assistance of a team to provide this important service: ensuring a safe environment. This is what the safety committee is tasked with doing.
Who Should Be Part of the Safety Committee?In addition to the safety officer, there are certain key personnel who should be part of the committee. These personnel include:
- Representative leaders from key ministries (children’s ministry and physical plant services)
- Deacon or deaconess
- Medical professional or first responder (emergency medical technician, police, firefighter, etc.)
When selecting your safety committee members, remember that some tasks require maturity and discretion such as an accident investigation. Every member of the committee should be adequately prepared and trained to handle confidential information.
What Activities are the Responsibility of the Safety Committee?The safety committee should provide assistance for all that the safety officer is charged with and provide extra eyes and ears around the church in identifying safety risks. This should include:
- Church self-inspections using the ARM Church Self-Inspection form
- Building security including lighting, security cameras, building keys, and training in identifying dangerous situations
- Emergency plans and drills including at least two church safety drills conducted annually
- Safety review of activates and transportation especially for those involving youth which may require extra layers of protection
- Child protection planning including screenings and trainings for all leaders, chaperones, volunteers and anyone working with children in any capacity
- Maintenance such as taking care of wet floors, cordoning off holes in the parking lot, and scheduling repairs for broken lights or rails.
Working Together for the Safety of AllThe church safety officer is indeed an important key to the safety of all church members. However, risk management and safety practices for the church is not a task that can be accomplished by a single individual. By creating a safety committee and allowing them to work together, with regular meetings and participation in church board meetings, your church can better protect its members and the community.
For more information on the church safety committee, see ARM’s Church Safety Committee info sheet.