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Get your shovels out, insurers warn

18 January 2013

by a staff reporter


Feeling the cold: a cherub in the graveyard at St Denys's, Evington

Feeling the cold: a cherub in the graveyard at St Denys's, Evington

CHURCHES have a duty to take "reasonable action" to ensure that paths into church are cleared of snow and well gritted to prevent employees and parishioners from slips and falls, church insurers have warned.

Forecasts of widespread snow and ice this week have prompted church insurers to remind parishes of their responsibilities.

Congregational & General said that churches needed to deal with snow and ice on paths to ensure that staff and visitors are protected. In small churches that are used only on Sundays, a one-metre-wide gritted path is sufficient.

Ecclesiastical Insurance has also issued winter guidance on what reasonable action churches should take.

It said: "It is not necessary to ensure that each and every available path is immediately cleared, as long as there is at least one safe route available to access the building."

Churches are also advised to check insulation on water pipes and tanks, and make sure that external taps are turned off, and hoses disconnected, to avoid burst pipes.

They are also warned of the dangers of temporary heaters. Liquid-petroleum-gas heaters can lead to rot in woodwork because of the amount of water vapour given off, and portable heaters should be placed well away from any combustible materials, and not left unattended for hours.

For more advice, see www.congregational.co.uk, or www.ecclesiastical.com.


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