Memorial Safety Inspections are being carried out in all of our cemeteries week commencing 12 November 2018 for up to 3 months.
Since Victorian Times memorials have been erected at the head of graves as a permanent reminder of those buried within. It is often wrongly assumed that memorials are permanent structures, installed to the highest standards, and will last forever without need for repair.
Unfortunately, this assumption has cost the lives of a number of people nationally in recent years, most of whom have been children, and there have been countless accidents ranging from bruising to severe crush injuries and bone breakages. Local authorities now have to tackle years of neglect and in some cases poor workmanship. The memorials do not belong to the council; they remain the property and the responsibility of the Deed Holder to the Exclusive Rights of Burial.
St Neots Town Council has Health and Safety responsibilities to its employees, contractors and visitors to cemeteries. The council has a responsibility to staff (Section 2 Health and Safety at Work Act 1974) and a responsibility to visitors (Section 3 Health and Safety at Work Act 1974). The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 places a legal duty on the council to assess the risks from cemetery structures and work activities and ensure that the risks are controlled.
St Neots Town Council have engaged the services of an Independent Memorial Inspection Company. They have extensive training and qualifications such as National Association of Memorial Masons (NAMM) Institute of Crematorium and Cemeteries Management (ICCM), Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and Health and Safety. The inspections will be carried out with care and respect.
When the memorial inspection company identify unsafe memorials through this inspection programme St Neots Town Council have a responsibility to ensure such memorials are not a danger to visitors and employees in the burial ground. Where possible, St Neots Town Council will contact the owner, advise them of the problem and ask them to make the memorial permanently safe, usually by having it re-fixed. Obviously, if there is a clear defect with the way in which the memorial was installed then the owner may have some redress through the memorial mason who originally installed it, should it have been installed in the previous 6 years. If not, they will have to pay for the memorial to be installed to an approved standard.
If you require any further information, please contact our offices on Tel: 01480 39911