Churchyard and outdoors

Slips and trips can happen outdoors as well as inside. Regularly sweep up around the premises, fallen leaves and moss for example can become very slippery particularly in winter months or after rainfall.

Think about paths and driveways and ensure they are in good repair. See ‘slips and trips’ for more information.

Other things to consider:

  • For paths that are used regularly at night, do you have adequate lighting?
  • Are steps and steep paths fitted with handrails? If so are they positioned at a convenient height?
  • Are your trees regularly inspected by a qualified tree surgeon? Have you considered/checked whether any tree preservation orders are in existence?
  • Are your boundary walls, gates and gravestones, tombs and monuments properly maintained and in a safe condition?
  • If your churchyard is still used for burials, do you ensure that graves left open prior to burial are properly shored up to prevent collapse and are safely covered over?

Guidelines have been published by the Ministry of Justice on "managing the safety of burial ground memorials". The guidance currently applies for England only but the approach would be useful for churches in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to adopt.

It is important that churches with burial grounds meet their health and safety responsibilities both to visitors and employees, without causing unnecessary distress to relatives.

Important note

Avoid shortcuts being created through church land by fencing where possible