Memorial Safety Policy

Document Date

20/07/2022

Created by

N/A

Category

Policies

Accessible version of document​

MEMORIAL SAFETY POLICY

Adopted February 2022

INTRODUCTION

This document sets out Bozeat Parish Council’s (BPC) policy for the management of memorial safety in Bozeat Cemetery.  The policy should be read in conjunction with the Rules and Regulations for Bozeat Cemetery.

RESPONSIBILITY AND LIABILITY

Primary responsibility for health and safety in Bozeat Cemetery lies with BPC who has control of the Cemetery.

BPC has responsibility for the overall safety within a burial ground under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 to ensure that, as far as reasonably practicable the site is maintained in a safe condition.

In order to comply with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, BPC has a systematic programme of memorial inspections.  This is to ensure the Cemetery is a safe place for all who may visit or work there.

Whilst BPC has overall responsibility for the safety in the Cemetery, including risks from unstable memorials, it does not own the memorials.  The owner will be the grave owner who is responsible for maintaining the memorial in a good condition.

Memorial Stonemasons must now ensure memorials are erected safely in accordance with the British Standard 8415, the National Association of Memorial Masons (NAMM) code of working practice and the British Register of Accredited Memorial Masons Blue Book.

BPC has power under the Local Authorities’ Cemeteries Order 1977 (LACO) to make safe any headstones or kerbs.  BPC will follow the procedures specified in Schedule 3 of LACO.

TYPE AND FREQUENCY OF CHECKS

BPC will carry out safety inspections on all memorials as part of a rolling programme on annual and five yearly cycles depending on the condition and risk assessment for each memorial.

The management of memorial safety is based on a risk assessment approach and as a priority will involve identifying those memorials which present an immediate and significant hazard and making them safe.

In cases of immediate danger BPC is empowered under provision of the Local Authorities Cemeteries Order 1977 Article 6(1) to take immediate action to make safe dangerous memorials.

BPC will undertake visual inspections and hand tests and may arrange a specialist assistance if deemed necessary.

BPC recognises that the inspection programme has the potential to cause distress, particularly where action is required, and will aim to communicate the inspection process as widely as possible. This will be achieved through notices in the Cemetery notice board and BPC notice board.

Where a memorial has been deemed at immediate risk and work needs to be undertaken, a notice will be placed on the memorial.  Where the grave owner is known BPC will contact them to give them an opportunity to repair the memorial.

RISK ASSESSMENT

Any person inspecting memorials should be familiar with the Ministry of Justice guidance ‘Managing the safety of burial ground memorials, practical advice for dealing with unstable memorials’

THIRD PARTY INSPECTIONS

In the event BPC instructs a third party to undertake checks, BPC will require documentary evidence that the operatives are fully trained and have Pubic Liability Insurance to a minimum value of £5 million and Professional Indemnity Insurance.

A written report with photographic evidence, as appropriate, will be provided to BPC at the conclusion of the inspection.

INSPECTION PROCESS

All memorials will be subject to a thorough visual inspection looking for signs of decay eg. Loose or cracked cement and degree of any lean that may occur and the likelihood of the memorial seriously injuring someone.

Memorials between 500 mm and 1.5 high, when measured from the ground, will be given a hand test where it is deemed safe to do so. Mechanical testing will not be employed.

Where a visual check reveals defects outside the inspection, specialist of the knowledge of the person undertaking the inspection, specialist assistance will be sought.

The results of all inspections will be documented and retained by BPC.

Each memorial will be categorised as follows.

Priority 1. Immediate action to be taken to make the memorial safe and stop anyone accessing the memorial.

Priority 2. Memorial is not an immediate danger but is not fully stable and will need to be monitored every 12 months.

Priority 3. No action required. To be reinspected in 5 years.

In the event that urgent action is required BPC reserves the right not to give prior notice of testing.

BPC will place a warning notice alerting people to the potential danger and cordon off the area.

BPC may install a temporary support such as a wooden stake and fixings together with a warning notice.

BPC may lay down the memorial where there is a potential hazard to health and safety.

RECORDS

All data concerning a memorial will be logged and filed for reference purposes and or any future communication with the grave owner.

NOTIFICATION OF GRAVE OWNER

Where a risk has been identified, the grave owner will be notified by first class post, within three days, if known.

REPAIRS TO MEMORIALS

All repairs should be carried out by an approved memorial mason in accordance with NAMM approved methods or the British Standard 8415 current at the time of the works

It is the responsibility of the grave owners to instruct a suitably qualified mason to carry out any repair.

Prior approval must be obtained from BPC before any work is undertaken.

Where a grave owner cannot be traced, BPC will consider what action to take after an appropriate period.  BPC will not undertake permanent repairs.