Cemetery Risk Management for Harsh Ground Conditions

November 16, 2021

Cemetery owners take great care to provide beautiful, peaceful resting places. Whether decedents make arrangements ahead of time or family members choose the sites after they pass away, you want them to feel confident in their decision. Unfortunately, harsh ground conditions can make it difficult to maintain safety, as well as appearances. Certain weather events and soil types increase the risk of property damage and personal injury. Cemetery insurance policies protect you from the financial impacts of an accident, but a few other investments can prevent accidents and property damage in the first place.

Understanding Cemetery Risks

Unsafe ground conditions pose a significant liability risk for cemeteries. Unstable ground increases the risk of worker and visitor injuries and may even lead to grave collapse. Slippery conditions caused by rain or snow endanger workers and mourners alike. Investing in safety equipment is a good way to avoid many of the following hazards.

Ground Collapse

You cannot control the type of soil found in your cemetery, but you can plan for possible issues caused by soil conditions. Sandy or loose soil tends to be unstable, meaning it could collapse while a grave is being excavated or after the burial. Water saturation also increases collapse risk, so cemeteries in flood zones must take precautions. Hydraulic and telescopic grave shoring systems stabilize soil walls and keep them from collapsing. Customization for site-specific risks increases the benefits of these systems. In many cases, the shoring systems allow workers to prepare and stabilize the grave without entering the excavation site, drastically reducing injury risk.

Heavy Equipment Damage

Poor ground conditions make the movement of heavy machinery to and from gravesites especially challenging. Snow, ice and mud make the ground especially prone to damage and increase the risk of machinery getting damaged or stuck. Using ground protection boards helps these machines move safely and quickly, minimizing damage to the equipment, gravesites, monuments and landscaping.

Slips and Falls

Cemetery visitors should be able to pay their respects to the deceased without worrying about falling or twisting an ankle on the freshly excavated ground. Winter weather is another challenge that may keep the elderly or people with disabilities from visiting their loved ones. Fortunately, various ground reinforcement systems reduce the risk when used correctly. Implements like artificial turf, walk boards, mats and soil containment systems reduce the dangers of uneven or unstable ground and help during muddy or icy conditions.

Unfavorable ground conditions make cemetery grounds management challenging but not impossible. The right equipment purchases improve safety on uneven and unstable ground, making it easier to maintain the property and keep visitors and workers safe. If you have questions about the risks on your specific property, reach out to your cemetery insurance provider for advice.

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