Our cemetery safety team is responsible for the ongoing inspection of memorials, making dangerous memorials safe within our cemeteries and churchyards which are identified as category 1 - 'requires immediate action'.
We inspect memorials using methods approved by the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management (ICCM) and National Association of Memorial Masons (NAMM). All cemetery staff have been trained to certificated standards on the safe method of inspection.
Our employees have undergone training on the Ministry of Justice guidelines for managing memorials, which is supported by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), and adhere to these guidelines.
A safety inspection normally begins with a walk round visual test. We then undertake a finger tip test which involves a continual push test gradually picking up the pressure to 25Kgs. This test is undertaken at one metre or at shoulder height. If required, a Topple Tester may be used by employees as this gives an accurate recording of a push test to a maximum force of 25Kg.
Public information on memorial safety
We have taken active measures to manage memorials in all our cemeteries. New legislation from the Government enforced by HSE means that all new memorials being installed must comply with a rigid specification.
As you would expect, a number of old memorials have become unstable over the years. Foundations have deteriorated, joints have not been doweled (bolted) and have become loose and in some cases where dowels have been used, they have become rusted and unsafe.
Surprisingly,some of our recent inspections revealed that a large number of newly installed memorials were in a dangerous condition - as many as one in three headstones.
Further guidelines from the HSE state that we must inspect all memorials, for which we are responsible, in less than 12 months. This means that we will have to take immediate action.
If a headstone was installed prior to January 2003 there is a possibility it may be unsafe and we may require to take action, such as lie the stone flat, stake and band or sheugh (ditched into the soil) in order to comply with this recent Health and Safety law.
If you have any concerns about a headstone or would like advice on erecting a new headstone, please do not hesitate to contact us.