Warning of grave dangers

25 Jan 01
Cemeteries, it appears, have become perilous places. According to the Association of Burial Authorities, the problem is the gravestones themselves: one in ten, it says, is a public danger. Crumbling, unstable headstones and monuments exacerbated by ...

26 January 2001

Cemeteries, it appears, have become perilous places. According to the Association of Burial Authorities, the problem is the gravestones themselves: one in ten, it says, is a public danger.

Crumbling, unstable headstones and monuments exacerbated by poor maintenance and vandalism have led to an increasing number of accidents in cemeteries, the association claims.

More local authorities are also being served with improvement orders by the Health and Safety Executive after reports of people tripping over loose headstones and grave surrounds. Last summer, a child in Yorkshire was crushed to death by a falling 5ft headstone.

'Health and safety in cemeteries and burial grounds is of extreme importance and councils should be encouraged to take all necessary steps to ensure maintenance of the grounds is of a high standard,' said Sam Weller, chair of the ABA. 'Our aim is to improve safety in British cemeteries.'

The association has produced a guide to safety management for councils to help reduce accidents. It looks at memorial risk assessment and how to deal with sensitive issues such as laying down headstones and securing memorials.

  • Arun District Council has banned wind chimes from its cemeteries after visitors complained of eerie sounds emanating from a Bognor Regis cemetery. People have until February 12 to remove the chimes from the surrounding trees after some people found the noise upsetting.

    'We are sorry for any distress caused,' said Roger Parsons, head of Parks and Landscape at Arun. 'But it is important that everyone who wishes to visit this cemetery can do so feeling safe and comfortable.'

    PFjan2001

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