Memorial inspections and procedures

Havant Borough Council is committed to providing a safe environment for those visiting our cemeteries.

To comply with current guidelines from the Ministry of Justice and other organisations we are now conducting only visual and hand testing (memorials under one metre in height).

The use of a calibrated instrument will only be used to give a reading when a memorial is found to be unsafe.

Background

Since Victorian times memorials have been erected at the head of graves as a permanent reminder of those buried within.

It has often been wrongly assumed that memorials are permanent structures, installed to the highest standards, and will last forever without any need for repair. Unfortunately, this assumption has cost the lives as well as countless accidents.

Why are we testing memorials?

The council has a responsibility, under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, to ensure that risks within their cemeteries are properly managed.

Memorials are tested in a sensitive way by fully trained staff.

How will we be doing this?

We will be continuing an inspection programme on all headstones and memorials in our three cemeteries.

Those headstones and memorials that are found to be unsafe may be carefully secured or laid down.

What happens if the headstone moves?

If movement of the memorial is detected, details of the grave number and section are noted.

Our burial registers are then checked for information regarding the present owner and address. We will write to the named person and advise them of the situation.

What do you need to do?

If any of your details change please contact the Cemeteries Office. Visitors to cemeteries should keep to footpaths, avoid touching any memorials and ensure that children are supervised at all times.

What to do if you are advised that your memorial is unsafe

We understand that this may be upsetting for you, and are sorry for any distress.

Please do not attempt to repair or remove memorials yourself, they are very heavy and for your own safety, and that of others, only qualified stonemasons should carry out this kind of work.

If you have any concerns, questions or require further information about the testing please contact the Cemeteries Office.