Safer Places of Worship

Churchyard & Outdoors

Slips and trips can happen outdoors as well as inside.  Think about paths and driveways and ensure they are in good repair. See the page on ‘slips and trips’ for more information.

Other things to consider:

  • do you have adequate lighting for paths that are used regularly at night?
  • 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?
  • are your boundary walls, gates and gravestones, tombs and monuments properly maintained in a safe condition?
  • if your churchyard is still used for burials ensure that graves left open immediately prior to burials 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 to 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 without causing unnecessary distress to relatives.