Safety on site

Procedure in the event of an accident

Synagogues must maintain an accident book on site (please refer to the Data Protection policy to ensure the record keeping process is compliant with GDPR). It is the responsibility of each individual synagogue to report and record any incident including:

  • An accident to an individual whether resulting in an injury or not
  • Any near miss
  • Any dangerous occurrence – including fire, no matter how small or contained
  • Any incident that results in damage to property.

Any accident or near miss occurrence (i.e. no one was injured but the incident had the potential to injure or kill) should also be reported immediately to the synagogue Chair. If an employee of the Federation is injured while at work this should be reported to Head Office.

All employees who are absent from work following an accident must complete a self-certification form, which clearly states the nature and cause of the injury.

Please note that accident reporting is covered by the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases & Dangerous Occurrences Regulation 2013. RIDDOR stipulates that certain incidents or resultant injuries, for example, a fracture, a 24 hour stay in hospital, a period of unconsciousness, more than seven calendar days off work, a fatality caused by an accident at work, must be reported to the authorities. More information can be found here:

First Aid

The Federation requires that every synagogue appoints an individual to take responsibility for first aid on site. It is best practice for there to be a trained First Aider (who has a valid first aid certificate) based in each synagogue.

Details of the appointed individual and any trained staff should be displayed on the synagogue notice board and members of the community should be made aware of who they are and the procedure to follow in the event of an accident or situation where first aid treatment is required.

Each synagogue must also have a fully stocked first aid kit which is checked regularly to ensure that supplies are kept in date and anything that may have been used is replaced.

Personal Safety

It is recommended that staff working in the synagogue, or individuals, should try to avoid working alone or being alone in the building whenever possible. However, where lone working is unavoidable, staff should develop an awareness of the risks and how to minimise them. Please see the Federation’s lone working policy for further information.

Prior to making an appointment with an unknown individual, try to obtain as much information as possible about them and arrange to meet the person on Federation premises.  Always ring back the telephone number you have been given to confirm that it is legitimate.  If a mobile number is given you should always ask for an alternative fixed line number if possible.

When making external visits, inform colleagues know where you are going, with whom and what time you are expecting to return.  If you think that you are going to overrun your original timescales, try to update colleagues.

If you are at all concerned that you are being placed in a dangerous situation through your employment, or in carrying out duties on behalf of the synagogue, you must discuss this with your line manager or Chair of the synagogue.

Slips, trips and falls

It is recommended that measures are put in place to prevent slips, trips and falls and that a risk assessment relating specifically to the likelihood of slips, trips and falls should be carried out by a competent person – see the section relating to risk assessments.  Most accidents can be prevented if steps are taken to minimise the risk.  Examples include:

  • Keeping a stock of grit on site to grit pathways and stairs in the event of ice and snow
  • Ensuring leaves, litter and loose paving outside the building are attended to promptly
  • Ensuring signs are put up to show people floors are wet when cleaning is taking place
  • Ensuring hallways, walkways and staircases are kept free from clutter to prevent tripping
  • Ensuring excess water is wiped up if it is a particularly wet day
  • Ensuring all staircases are properly maintained and that lighting is adequate.

Control of hazardous substances hazardous to health (COSHH)

Under the COSHH Regulations 2002 it is a requirement to control exposure to hazardous substances and protect workers’ health. It is a requirement that cleaning products are stored correctly and that anyone using the products has the correct personal protective equipment. In order to prevent potential accidents, especially involving children, it is recommended that any cleaning products are kept in a locked cupboard and access is controlled. The cupboard must be appropriately labelled so that individuals are aware of its contents.

Details of all stored hazardous substances must be recorded and filed on a data sheet, including advice on safe storage, what to do if there is accidental spillage or contamination, and appropriate First Aid action to take in the event of an emergency (this information can often be found on the bottle itself, or on the manufacturer’s website).

Working at Height

The Federation recognises its obligation to comply with the Work at Height Regulations 2005. Before working at height (which applies to all activities above or below ground level, where there is risk that a fall could occur and cause an injury) the following simple steps should be followed:

  • Undertake an appropriate assessment to ensure the safety of everyone concerned. Think about what equipment is needed and its suitability for the task, and how many people will be needed to complete the task safely.
  • Ensure that the area involved in the task is cordoned off from individuals not involved in its undertaking
  • Ensure workers can get safely to and from where they work at height
  • Ensure equipment is suitable, stable and strong enough for the job, maintained and checked regularly (where a regular ladder or step would not be sufficient to safely carry out the work, a scaffold tower may be more appropriate. Please note that assembly of this kind of equipment must only be undertaken by a trained individual).
  • Consider your emergency evacuation and rescue procedures.

Manual handling

Manual handling relates to the moving of items either by lifting, lowering, carrying, pushing or pulling. The weight of the item is an important factor, but many other factors can create a risk of injury, for example the number of times you have to pick up or carry an item, the distance you are carrying it, where you are picking it up from or putting it down (picking it up from the floor, putting it on a shelf above shoulder level) and any twisting, bending stretching or other awkward postures you may adopt while doing a task.

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (MHOR) require employers to manage risks to their employees. They must:

  • Avoid hazardous manual handling operations so far as is reasonably practicable, by redesigning the task to avoid moving the load or by automating or mechanising the process.
  • Make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risk of injury from any hazardous manual handling operations that cannot be avoided.
  • Reduce the risk of injury from those operations so far as is reasonably practicable. Where possible, provide mechanical assistance, for example, a sack trolley or hoist. Where this is not reasonably practicable then explore changes to the task, the load and the working environment.

Medical and scientific knowledge stress the importance of taking an ergonomic approach to manual handling, looking at the nature of the task, the load and the working environment, and requiring worker participation.

Lifting heavy objects (for example Sifrei Torah)

If members are lifting heavy objects, please ensure that they are carrying out the lifting in a safe manner. When offering the honour of hagba to individuals please ensure that they are aware of how to lift the Sefer Torah carefully and safely. It is advisable that individuals who have not done this before but who are given the honour are given a full explanation of how to carry out the procedure.

Manual Handling Guidance


Plan the lift. Where will the load be placed? Do you need assistance or a handling aid? Are there any obstructions in the way?


Feet should be in a stable position, apart with one foot forward. Avoid tight clothing or unsuitable footwear which might prevent this.


When lifting, slightly bend the back, hips and knees. Avoid stooping or squatting.


Hug the load as close to the body as possible. Keep the heaviest side nearest the body.


Look ahead rather than down at the load. Move smoothly and avoid jerking in order to maintain control. Avoid twisting or leaning sideways.


Put the load down first, then move it into the required position.


In compliance with the law, smoking is prohibited in all enclosed and substantially enclosed premises owned by the Federation. It is a disciplinary offence for individuals to smoke in any non-designated areas within Federation premises.

It is a statutory requirement to display a no smoking sign in a prominent position in the building.

Synagogues that wish to permit smoking in designated external areas may do so but are not required to offer this.

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