Safer Places of Worship

Tower Tours

Whilst it may not be common practice, there may be churches that let members of the public climb the tower or visit other high-level parts of their premises.

If you choose to do this make sure you carry out a risk assessment to decide the maximum number of people on a tower tour at any time. To do this you might want to take into account the size of the tower, number of staff and means of safe evacuation.

Think: Will this change in different weather conditions? Consider the appropriate number of staff and volunteers and consider the circumstances of those on the tour and any requirements those persons may need, in order to establish how many persons can safely go up the tower. You may need to set the figure differently according to the circumstances.

The following points may assist you in planning safe tower tours:

  • starting a new tour before you are sure the previous visitors have come back down may lead to congestion and an unsafe ascent and decent;
  • decide on a policy for children on tower tours, e.g. are no children under 8's to be allowed on a tour and are all children under 16 to be accompanied by an adult?
  • how many stewards do you need to escort the party? You may consider that at least two (one at the front and one behind) who should be able bodied, over 18, and provided with a means of communication to call for help in case of an emergency may be sufficient, however as mentioned above, consider the circumstances of those on the tour when considering how many persons are needed;
  • the carriage of large items of baggage can cause congestion and fatigue' it may be safer that these should be left at ground level so as to leave both hands free;
  • make sure you provide, adequate lighting; handrails with gaps of no more than 150mm, notices explaining the difficulty of the climb, whether it is suitable for those who are elderly, infirm, pregnant, disabled or suffer from medical conditions which could be affected by the climb and warnings regarding restricted headroom.