Better safety at graveside

By MIKARLA THURECHT

SIX weeks ago mourners were at risk of falling into open graves in Rockhampton.

Now it is near impossible.

Rockhampton City Council has introduced the latest in cemetery safety to make sure gravesides will not collapse as mourners pay their last respects. Parks, Sport and Recreation Department director Tom Wyatt said the new system meant even the most simple graveside accidents were "highly unlikely''.

Mr Wyatt said a risk assessment study had identified the potential collapse of gravesides and the danger of nearby heavy monuments slipping into open graves as problems at the northside cemetery.

"The North Rockhampton Cemetery is close to Moores Creek so when you start digging you've got gravel, which is very unstable.

"It's been getting more unstable with the dry conditions.''

Mr Wyatt said the hydraulic ram shoring system reinforced the ends and walls of a grave with planks and did not require staff to enter the grave. He said it would not be noticed by mourners once the grave was dressed up and was simply packed up after the funeral.

But the best part, according to Mr Wyatt, is that the equipment for the system cost only about $6500.

"It's a very emotional time for anyone involved. For something to happen during a service because we weren't being proactive would be a big problem for me.''

Mr Wyatt said the council had also introduced small fences for around graves to give mourners the "psychological feeling'' that they could not fall in.

He said the council was now also looking at new technology to test the stability of high monuments, which would be used at both the north and southside cemeteries.

"We want to promote the southside cemetery as a tourist destination. There's so much history there.

"So the stability of monuments is very expensive.''

Mr Wyatt said he was proud to say the city was now at the forefront of cemetery safety in Australia.



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