Cemetery Worker/Gravedigger

A Cemetery Worker or Gravedigger is responsible for excavating graves and general maintenance for the day to day-up keep of cemeteries and other areas.

Work Environment
The work takes place outdoors in various cemeteries which are the responsibility of the local authority. These will be located across the geographical area of the local authority not just one location.  Working outdoors most tasks must to be completed regardless of weather conditions.  The work also requires considerable physical exertion, for example carrying tools and materials up and down ladders.

Daily Activities
Duties could include:

  • locate, mark out and excavate graves in accordance with the cemetery map and the Code of Safe Working Practice for Cemeteries.  Digging is carried out by a mechanical excavator, digging by hand may also be required;
  • shoring up and shuttering the excavated grave in accordance with legislation and health and safety, this involves working in a small space up to seven feet deep;
  • assisting members of the public when necessary regarding location of plots or graves;
  • assisting undertakers and masons in locations and preparation of funerals;
  • maintenance of the surrounding areas which will include grass cutting, hedge trimming, planting of flowers and shrubs and pruning of hedges and trees;
  • maintenance of annual and shrub beds within the cemetery;
  • general litter picking and emptying bins throughout the cemetery;
  • topping up soil and seed graves after sinkage;
  • sweeping paths;
  • locking and maintaining cabins and toilets;
  • complying with Control of Substances Hazardous to Health regulations when using chemicals and substances;
  • locking and unlocking the cemetery gates and any other buildings on the cemetery site.

Skills & Interests
Cemetery Worker and a Gravedigger will:

  • be physically fit;
  • have good customer care skills;
  • show dignity and compassion when dealing with bereaved families;
  • in addition to the usual range of tools and equipment must be able to use powered hand tools and plant equipment such as grass mowers;
  • be able to work outdoors in all weathers including adverse weather conditions.

Future Prospects & Opportunities
Could progress to other job roles within horticulture.  Some local authorities may support day release for professional horticulture qualifications.

Further Information & Services
Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management www.iccm-uk.com

You may find further information about this area of work through Careers Wales (www.careerswales.com/) or in your local library, careers office or school careers library.

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