Memorial Safety Inspections

Burial Ground Safety

It is essential that our cemeteries are safe places for people to come and pay their respects and for burial ground staff and memorial stonemasons to work.  People have been hurt, even killed, as a result of dangerous memorials and we cannot let this happen in Inverclyde.  To ensure this, Inverclyde Council must be responsible and take action to deal with any memorial that poses a threat to the public.

Responsibility for the overall safety within a burial ground lies with the Burial Authority, which has responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Occupiers Liability Act 1957 to ensure that, as far as reasonably practicable, their sites are maintained in a safe condition.  The Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management, along with the Health & Safety Executive, have instructed Local Authorities to carry out regular and routine safety checks of all the memorials within their cemeteries.

Inspection Process

The Ministry of Justice Memorial Scheme (MOJ) identified a 5 step process for inspecting memorials that we follow:

  1. Identify the hazard – e.g. a potentially unstable memorial.
  2. Identify who might be harmed and how – these might be employees, contractors, volunteers or visiting members of the public who may be struck by a falling memorial.
  3. Evaluate the risk of a memorial falling and harming someone and decide on the precautions needed to control this risk.
  4. Record the significant findings of the risk assessment and take steps to implement the precautions needed.
  5. Review the risk assessment periodically to see if anything has changed and update it if necessary.

Testing the Memorial by Hand

A hand check will be carried out by standing to one side of the memorial and applying a firm, steady pressure in different directions to determine to what degree, if any, the memorial is loose.  If a memorial is found to be loose, a yellow warning notice will be placed on the memorial.  If you see a warning notice, please do not go near the memorial.

Memorials that are found to be unsafe and present a risk to the public will be dealt with by being trenched in or laid flat to remove the danger.

We will endeavour to contact the lair owner at the last known address.  You will be required to have the memorial repaired by an approved monumental stonemason.   An approved list that can be viewed or downloaded via the link on the left side of this page.  If the last known registered address for the property no longer exists we will deal with the memorial as described.

These safety inspections are currently being carried out within Inverclyde cemeteries by trained staff who will make sure that the work is carried out with due care and respect.  We have already carried out inspections and repairs at Inverkip and Kilmacolm. Further inspections will be carried out as follows:

  1. Port Glasgow
  2. Gourock
  3. Knocknairshill
  4. Greenock.

Grave Owners' Responsibilities

All memorials are owned by and are the responsibility of the Grave Owners or their next of Kin. However, if a memorial is found to be in an unsafe condition, the Council has an obligation to make it safe.  No memorials will be removed from the grave space.

We appreciate that people may be unhappy about this and we apologise sincerely if it causes any upset.  We understand how difficult it can be for families to see a memorial to a loved one laid flat and we want to help people deal with their unsafe memorials as quickly as possible.  Anyone who wants to talk about what is happening or who needs information should contact the Burial Grounds Office on (01475) 715658.  Please also contact us if you have contacted an approved monumental stonemason to have work carried out.

Follow the Related Link to the Charging Booklet for current costs.