Information on graves

Memorial safety inspections

We do ongoing safety inspections of headstones and kerb sets in all of our cemeteries and the closed churchyards which we maintain.

The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 requires all burial authorities to ensure that memorials are safe so that the potential for injury to those visiting and working in the cemetery is reduced.

We restrict the size of memorials and insist on approved methods of fixing which should keep our cemeteries safe for the future.

The safety testing is to assess whether memorials can withstand a reasonable pressure, which may be applied to the memorials by users of the cemetery. For instance, if someone slips and uses the memorial to try and steady themselves. The safety testing involves visually inspecting the memorials for signs of instability followed by a nationally recognised hand test.

If your memorial poses an immediate danger it may be temporarily laid down without your knowledge. It will be cordoned off, supported with a small stake or secured with bonding adhesive.

Those showing signs of instability but not an immediate threat will be listed on our cemetery notice boards. We will attempt to contact the last known grave owner in accordance with our registers, but only where the memorial is less than 30 years old.

It should be noted that under the provisions of the Local Authorities Cemeteries Order 1977 (LACO) Article 3 empowers us to make safe dangerous memorials.

Making your memorial safe

Grave owners and their families have a responsibility to make sure their memorial remains in good repair. Therefore if you are notified that your memorial needs attention, you should contact an approved stonemason for which the mason will charge a fee. Do not attempt to repair or remove a memorial yourself.

If you take no action we will look to reduce any risk by the most cost effective means. This might include:

  • Sinking the memorial part way into the ground in an upright position which may obscure some of the engraving
  • The use of bonding to stick loose components together
  • Laying the memorial down
  • Burying loose components into the grave.
  • A combination of the above

We apologise in advance for any distress this may cause, however we are required to carry out this work.

How you can help

You can help us by

  • Keeping your contact details up to date
  • Being aware that cemeteries are potentially dangerous places.  Please stay on the footpaths and avoid touching any memorials.  Children should be supervised at all times.  
  • Join the friends of cemeteries group

For more information please contact us.