Does your church run events for your members or for the public? Holding an event can provide a great opportunity to reach out to the community, or to do some fundraising for a cause, or to fulfil some other goal or purpose.
Types of events may include seasonal festivities, family picnics, youth camps or excursions, working bees, sports days and so on.
When it comes to events there’s a lot to think about from the outset – from finding suitable venues and appointing a coordinator, to obtaining the correct permits, checking insurance and more.
It’s also important to run a risk assessment for each event beforehand, to identify potential risks and hazards and to create a risk management plan.
While it’s not possible to cover every detail here for every type of event, the following provides an overview of matters to consider for church sponsored events as well as some of the potential risks.
1. Insurance, legal and administrative matters
Once you’ve decided on your event you should check your insurance to make sure you are covered for church-sponsored events and what that entails. Speak to our insurance team if you’re not sure about your cover.
You should also let your insurer know if any of the following apply:
- the event will be held off-premises (e.g. Christmas carols in the park);
- you are planning a fireworks display; or
- alcohol will be served (which we assume would be unlikely).
You will also need to consider what permits you will need from your local council – such as for serving food, for holding an event in a public park, or for running fireworks.
If you’re going to be running a musical event, such as a performance or Christmas carols, you may need to consider copyright issues. Generally speaking though, traditional Christmas and Easter songs are in the public domain and can be copied and distributed without a problem. See our previous post on copyright for more info.
2. Health & Safety
Health and safety should always be a top priority. Some of the considerations here include:
- Safe premises to avoid accidents like slips and trips.
- First Aid officers and kits.
- Using jumping castles safely and correctly.
- Food safety to protect against food poisoning and allergic reactions.
- Transport safety – such as during bus trips for excursions.
- Child and youth safety and protection.
- Car park management.
- Safe premises for people with a disability.
- Keeping people cool at a summer event.
- Exterior lighting – important for nighttime events.
Good security measures are important for people’s safety and property protection. Here are some of the things to consider:
- Terrorism risk management strategies.
- Security measures for cash handling.
- Crime-proofing your building to prevent theft and other crimes.
4. Fire safety
While part of health and safety, fire safety is a big enough area to warrant its own category here. You should consider:
- Candle safety – e.g. at Christmas events.
- Emergency planning and procedures.
- Bushfire prevention and preparation.
- Training people in how to use fire extinguishers.
- Keeping up with essential safety measures year round.
5. Workers and volunteers
Managing church volunteers and workers at events helps prevent injuries and also helps the day run more smoothly. This may involve:
- Safety regarding working at heights – such as when putting up signs, displays or equipment.
- Ensuring your workers and volunteers have current Working with Children checks where required.
- Preventing injuries from manual handling tasks.
- Training your volunteers so they know what’s required on the day.
The better prepared you are for your event, the more you will be able to relax and enjoy it. To find out what extra insurance cover you need for running events, get in touch with us by phone or email.
Also see our other posts on event safety if you would like more information on this topic.
Written by Tess OliverTags: church event safety, health & safety, risk management