Health and safety at the site

OUR RESPONSIBILTY (Statement of Intent-Aims and Objectives)

South Shropshire Remembrance Park (SSRP) and its Company Directors (jointly) have a statutory duty under Sections 2 and 3 of the Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974 to ensure, so FAR AS IS REASONABLY PRACTICABLE, the health and safety of anyone working or visiting the burial ground.

POTENTIAL RISKS
SSRP has undertaken a risk assessment and identified the following potential hazards within the park:

  • Uneven ground and paths.
  • Weather, especially rain potentially making the ground wet and slippery underfoot.
  • Plants/trees.
  • Open grave excavations.
  • Grave memorials.
  • Maintenance Work and Vehicles.
  • Children.

The site is on natural woodland lying on sloped ground and as such the land can be uneven in places. It is not a traditional church graveyard, so the paths are not concreted and there are no handrails located around burial areas. This is in order to keep the site as natural as possible, care for the environment and stay within its green ethos. It is a wonderful site and no problems are envisaged if the setting is respected.

Below is how SSRP details the risks to be managed.

VISITORS/WORKERS/CONTRACTORS RESPONSIBILITY
Due care must be taken when accessing South Shropshire Remembrance Park in case of any slips, trips or falls.

Uneven Ground and Paths

  • SSRP would advise wearing suitable footwear with gripped soles. Walking poles can also be useful for extra support if needed.
  • Any frail, elderly or disabled persons should take particular care before walking on the site and undertake their own risk assessment. SSRP would advise taking someone to help support if needed. There are also various benches around the site to rest on.
  • An off-road vehicle is available if required to help any such person not capable of visiting their required grave to do so, please contact SSRP in advance. There is a sign indicating no unauthorised vehicles should go beyond a certain point.
  • The Park is closed after 3pm unless by prior notification- it should not be accessed in the dark or fading light as visitors may struggle to see the ground and their footing.

Weather

  • In event of wet/adverse weather please ensure correct footwear, boots or wellies with grips and wear suitable clothing. The ground can become slippery and muddy in places so extra care and time should be taken.
  • There is a pavilion for shelter if needed.

Plants and Trees

  • Visitors should not go into the trees or off the various cleared areas within the site itself for their own safety. It is a natural woodland with very tall ancient trees these may become disturbed from time to time in terms of loose branches/unstable roots especially after large storms/high winds.
  • The site is inspected regularly for any developing hazards and action taken accordingly. Tree surgeons are called if there are any concerns.

Graves

  • Visitors should be aware of any open grave excavations (these are shored up to prevent collapse and covered over by the grave digger ready for interment). People should not go near these please with exception to the grave diggers and undertakers. The covering sheets will be visible over the top.

Grave Memorials

  • Small wooden grave marker pegs are used for each grave. Visitors should be aware these are a potential tripping hazard.
  • People should also look out for any vases/pots of plants left on graves. SSRP do have a policy that only native plants should be planted level with the ground (permission required).
  • There are a number of benches around the park purchased by families in memory of relatives. Although the site is inspected please take care before sitting down in event of any instability. The benches and their maintenance remain with the family purchasing them, SSRP cannot hold responsibility if anything happens whilst using them.

Maintenance Work

  • The site will be closed for a few days each year for maintenance such as mowing and strimming to keep the site accessible and to let the natural flowers grow through. There will be a sign on the gate stating this, but we do encourage people to phone if coming from a long way to avoid disappointment.
  • If people do happen to be visiting when any routine maintenance is taking place, they need to stay aware and keep a distance of at least 20m.
    Visitors should be aware that off-road vehicles can access the site too and should not drive over 15mph when driving up the access road. It is a single stoned track and visitors should take care accordingly.
  • Grave diggers and Funeral Directors should take responsibility and ensure their own training and public liability is up to date in order to carry out their roles whilst on the site.

Children

Young children should be supervised at all times and not allowed to wander off.

First Aid/Emergency Procedures

  • In the event of an emergency visitors should phone 999 and speak to the appropriate service. Please also telephone SSRP at the first appropriate time.
    There is no first aid box located directly on site. Washroom facilities (no drinking water) are located in the pavilion (key on hook at the back). Please note the nearest defibrillator is at Rushbury Village Hall.
  • In the event of a fire make your way to the carpark (or as far away from the source as possible) if it is safe to do so and await the fire brigade.

Reporting Concerns

If visitors have any concerns with the site in relation to health and safety, please contact us via any medium documented at the end of this document.

Any Other Concerns

  • The pavilion can be used for refreshments with permission, although note there is no electricity or drinking water. It is the visitor’s responsibility to clean and ensure anything served is done so hygienically and at their own risk.
  • We do not allow smoking, drugs or alcohol around the burial site. If any person breaks these rules they risk being asked to leave the site and the relevant authorities will be contacted if needed.
  • If coming alone visitors should ensure someone knows their whereabouts and if possible, take a mobile phone with them and SSRP’s phone number.
  • It is the visitor’s responsibility to familiarise themselves and abide by the above. Visitors enter and use the site at their own risk. SSRP does not take any responsibility for any accidents which occur whilst accessing the site if the guidance is not followed.

We thank everyone for their cooperation in this matter and even though highly unlikely SSRP is aware accidents can occur from time to time and wish to prevent them as much as possible. SSRP is aware that a natural woodland burial site does not have the expected features of a traditional cemetery but have ensured the health and safety of our visitors as far as is reasonably practical in line with legal guidance.

For further information or for any concerns please do not hesitate to contact SSRP on 01584 841089 or e-mail info@shropshirewoodlandburial.co.uk.

Policy Reviewed 2020.
NB See separate policy for Covid-19 Measures