Parish Councils have responsibilities under the WHS legislation to take all steps that are reasonably practicable to ensure the health and safety of parish workers.
One practical step that Parish Councils can take in this respect is to conduct regular checks for hazards and for faulty plant and equipment. Diocesan Office has prepared a WHS hazard identification checklist (see below) that Parish Councils may choose to adopt to help them perform annual checks on the condition of parish facilities.
The checklist is designed to be used by an inspection team (perhaps a Churchwarden plus another member of Parish Council with special responsibility for plant and equipment). The inspection team should use a separate checklist for each building (e.g. one sheet for a parish hall, one for a church etc). If the team is able to fix the problem on the spot, that should be noted on the form. If it cannot be fixed immediately, the problem should be entered onto a WHS Risk Register, and a copy of the Risk Register should be tabled at the next Parish Council meeting. The Parish Council should decide what action to take in order to eliminate/minimise hazards that have been identified. The Risk Register should be updated to record the action that has been taken to fix the problem.
A sample WHS Risk Register can also be found below.
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