Safety of Memorials
Memorial Safety Testing Programme
Following a high number of accidents and also fatalities in cemeteries throughout the UK, the Health and Safety Executive issued a national directive to all burial authorities to test all memorials for safety.
Due to this instruction from the National Health & Safety Executive MTCBC are obliged to carry out a memorial testing programme throughout the cemeteries.
This systematic memorial testing programme started in April 2004 and is ongoing.
Each memorial is being tested with a computerised calibrated pressure tester as approved by the National Association of Monumental Masons (NAMM).
All MTCBC staff have been formally trained in accordance with the NAMM code of working practice.
When a memorial fails the safety test MTCBC are obliged to warn visitors and staff within the cemetery of the potential danger, therefore, any unsafe memorial will have a warning notice attached, and a wooden stake securing the upright part of the memorial. This is a temporary measure only, as the responsibility for a memorial actually lies with the owner of the memorial.
In a small number of cases, where it is impossible to stabilise the memorial, it will be laid flat in the interest of public safety.
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council understands that it can be upsetting for families who find that their memorial is unsafe and we would like to take this opportunity to apologise for any distress caused. However, we are obliged, under the Health & Safety Regulations, to undertake this safety testing programme and to make the cemeteries as safe as possible for visitors and staff.
Should your memorial have failed the safety test, you are advised to seek the expertise of a BRAMM Registered Monumental Mason. Only Memorial Masons approved by the British Register of Accredited Monumental Masons (BRAMM) are allowed to work in MTCBC Cemeteries, a list of Masons from this register are available from the Bereavement Services Office or BRAMM website.
All Registered Memorial Masons are aware of the testing programme and are qualified to advise you with regard to current safety standards and memorial regulations.
Why is MTCBC testing all memorials?
In 2004 the Health and Safety Executive issued a directive to all burial authorities in the country. This stated that each authority must set up a memorial testing system whereby all memorials within their burial grounds are tested and a database of the test results be set up and maintained. This directive was issued due to a number of accidents and even fatalities due to unsafe memorials throughout the country. Over the last 5 years there have been 21 serious accidents to members of the public including 3 fatalities throughout the UK.
How are the memorials being tested ?
As with neighbouring authorities, MTCBC are testing with a hand held, calibrated computerised testing machine. This machine exerts up to 35 kg of pressure. This level of pressure is endorsed by the National Association of Monumental Masons, 35 kg actually replicates the force exerted by a person holding onto the memorial to pull themselves up from kneeling at the grave side. All memorials are tested by qualified, trained staff.