Tower Tours

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

If you choose to do this, make sure you undertake a risk assessment to establish the maximum number of people permitted on a tower tour at any time.  Whilst doing this you might want to consider the size of the tower, number of employees and means of safe evacuation.

Think: Will this change in different weather conditions?

Consider the appropriate number of employees and volunteers also consider the circumstances of those on the tour and any requirements these people may need, in order to establish how many people 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:

  • Do not start a new tour before you are sure the previous visitors have come back down as this may lead to congestion and an unsafe ascent and decent;
  • Decide on a policy for children on tower tours, e.g. no children under 8 to be allowed on a tour and all children under 16 to be accompanied by an adult;
  • How many stewards do you need to escort the party? Consider at least two, one at the front and one at the back. They should be able-bodied, aged over 18, and provided with a means of communication to call for help in case of an emergency. Always consider the circumstances of those on the tour when establishing how many persons are needed;
  • Large items of baggage can cause congestion and fatigue, particularly when being carried. It will be safer for tour participants to leave these at ground level and have 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 and warnings regarding restricted headroom.