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Tower Health and Safety


St John the Baptist Church
Campsea Ashe PCC
Tower Health and Safety Policy
Approved by PCC on 3rdSeptember 2008
1       Purpose of Policy
1.1       To ensure the safety of all who use the Tower. The Tower includes all parts of the Tower above ground level including spiral staircase, ringing chamber, belfry and roof.
2       Responsibility
2.1       As with all aspects of the Church, the Churchwardens have ultimate responsibility for Health and Safety in the Tower. If appropriate they have the sanction to close the Tower until appropriate remedial action has been taken to improve the safety of the Tower.
2.2       On a day to day basis the Tower Captain will advise the Churchwardens of any concerns regarding health and safety within the Tower. Individual bell ringers and other users of the Tower should report any Health and Safety concerns to the Tower Captain or the Churchwardens as soon as possible.
2.3       All visitors to the Tower should be made aware of the contents of the Health and Safety Policy and will be expected to abide by its requirements.
3       Access to Tower
3.1       The door to the Tower should be kept locked at all times that the Tower is not being used. The Churchwardens must keep a record of all key holders who will normally be nominated by themselves or the Tower Captain (see appendix).
3.2       Anyone visiting the Tower must be accompanied by an experienced bell ringer at the start of the visit, normally the Tower Captain or her/his representative. The ringer must check that the bells are in the ‘down’ position before allowing access to the ringing chamber or the belfry. Once checked, provided two people at least are in the Tower at all times, the experienced ringer may leave.
3.3       Experienced ringers, with the approval of the Tower Captain, may exceptionally visit the ringing chamber alone, but not the belfry. They should not ring the bells if alone in the Tower.
3.4          All others must be accompanied by another person at all times. If anyone accesses the belfry it is preferable that a second person accompanies them in the belfry, but the second person must at all times be no lower down the Tower than the ringing chamber.
3.5          It is good practice to ensure there is at least one mobile phone available in the Tower in case of emergency.
4       Bells and bellringing
4.1       During the week, from Monday 6.00 am to Friday 6.00 pm, it is expected that the bells should be left in the ‘down’ position except when being rung for practice or other session. At weekends, from Friday 6.00 pm to Monday 6.00 am, the bells may be left in the ‘up’ position if they are likely to be rung the next day, for a service, for example, following a practice the previous day.
4.2          If the bells are left in the ‘up’ position, a clear sign must be displayed in the ringing chamber and on the door to the staircase informing any visitors they are up and that the ropes should not be touched.
4.3          Due to the possibility of human error, it should always be assumed the bells are ‘up’ and this should be checked by an experienced ringer prior to ringing or at the start of a visit to the Tower.
4.4          No one shall touch the ropes, including ringing the bells, without the permission of the Tower Captain or her/his nominated representative.
4.5          New ringers should be made aware of Health and Safety issues concerning ringing at the start of the teaching programme.
4.6          The bells, bellframe, ropes and all aspects of the ringing mechanism should be checked on a regular basis to ensure they are in a safe condition. This inspection will normally consist of a visual inspection by the Tower Captain or other nominated representative(s) at least once every two months.
4.7          The bellringers cannot be expected to be experts in the safety of the facilities, so a regular inspection should be carried out at least bi-annually by a qualified person, such as the Suffolk Guild of Ringers Technical Adviser, or a representative of a bell hanging company.
4.8          The ringers will take account of advice given by the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers (CCCBR) Tower Stewardship Committee, specifically their Tower Safety and Risk Assessment leaflet. If at any time the advice from the CCCBR is at variance with the Church Tower Health and Safety Policy, the Tower Captain will inform the PCC.
Signed                                                                         Date
Rev Canon Harry Edwards on behalf of PCC

Tower Key Holders as at 21st March 2019
Glenys Fear
David Clough
Ray Lewis