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Preventing slips and trips in burial grounds

Graveyards and burial grounds are often visited by many people; this includes families of those buried there, others who are just looking for a quiet place to wander or simply passing through to access the church for services or events.

It is important that churches pay particular attention to these areas, as slips and trips frequently occur there. Typical hazards include uneven ground, horizontal grave kerbs and broken headstones.

You should include graveyards and burial grounds in any inspections, risk assessments and periodic checks you make. You may also need to include detail as part of your health and safety policy and keep records of what you have done.

Some typical precautions include:

  • Removing, replacing or repairing broken graves or kerbs
  • Repairing potholes or uneven surfaces in paths, driveways, car parks and steps
  • Highlighting unexpected changes or variations in floor levels or steps
  • Providing adequate barriers and warnings where there are unprotected drops
  • Close mowing grass paths regularly
  • Maintaining close mown paths to any frequently visited graves
  • Removing protruding tree roots and undergrowth where these are obstructing access.

Want to know more? 

More general information about health and safety in churches is available here or you can contact our Risk Management Advice Line by calling 0345 600 7531 (Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 17:00 - excluding Bank Holidays) or email risk.advice@ecclesiastical.com.

Ecclesiastical Insurance Group plc (EIG) Reg No 1718196. Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc (EIO) Reg No 24869. Ecclesiastical Life Ltd (ELL) Reg No 243111. Ecclesiastical Financial Advisory Services Ltd (EFAS) Reg No 2046087. Ecclesiastical Underwriting Management Ltd (EUML) Reg No 2368571. E.I.O. Trustees Ltd Reg No 941199. EdenTree Investment Management Ltd (EIM) Reg No 2519319. All companies are registered in England at Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester GL1 1JZ. EIO and ELL are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Firm Reference Number 113848 (EIO) and 110318 (ELL). EFAS and EIM are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Firm Reference Number 126123 (EFAS) and 527473 (EIM). EUML is an appointed representative of EIO who is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Firm Reference Number 402228.