The Risk Trinity: 3 Reasons Your Congregation Needs Injury Protection
Congregation personal injury claims and liability can be costly and very damaging to your religious organization’s reputation. They can be much more frequent than employee claims. Employee safety programs are not always sufficient enough to protect church members. This group in particular is more prone to accidents for three primary reasons:
- Church members expect the church to be safe.
- Groups like children and the elderly are predisposed to injury.
- Church members do not receive the same employee safety training.
It’s time to understand to what extent you're liable for church member injuries on your premises and take steps to minimize risk and prevent injury.
You're required to maintain safe premises for your church members; in legal terms, you have a high duty of care. This includes the duty to warn them of non-obvious, dangerous conditions that you know about, to use ordinary care in active operations in the business and to make reasonable inspections to discover dangerous conditions and make them safe. Most accidents are preventable, so it's important to take steps to make your establishment safer and less exposed to the risk of church member injury and litigation.
Here are steps you can take to minimize the risk of a member claim:
- Identify high-risk areas (such as where liquids are frequently spilled or tracked) and set up an employee inspection schedule to ensure it doesn't become a dangerous condition.
- Install video cameras to more efficiently monitor the premises for dangerous conditions and provide proof in case of a claim.
- During snowy, icy or rainy weather conditions, take care of dangerous situations on sidewalks, stairs and parking lots promptly.
- Ensure proper lighting in all areas of the church, and check on a regular basis that all bulbs are functioning. Document your inspections.
- Ensure that displays are stable, and always put heavy items near the bottom of shelves.
- Properly maintain and inspect church seating, and discard those that present a risk of tipping.
- Design parking lots to avoid injury. Repave, repair and check for hazardous conditions regularly. Document these inspections.
Not every injury claim is an honest one. Beware of criminal accident teams who can also stage injuries. This fraud could cost your religious organization millions of dollars in unwarranted payouts. Evaluate this possibility in the event of a customer injury claim, and notify the National Insurance Crime Bureau if you have a suspicion.
Whether you’re renting a church or it’s your home base, church members can be at risk for unforeseen injuries. Our Protection Ministry serves to prevent injuries, save lives, strengthen ministries and avoid lawsuits for your organization.
To learn more about how our faith based experts can help, contact us.
- Counseling and the Local Church
- 8 Ways to Step Up Your Maintenance Game
- Avoid the Bad Apples
- Safety E-Book
ABOUT THE AUTHOR