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CROSS Safety Report

Fixing systems for gravestones

Report ID: 601 Published: 1 October 2016 Region: CROSS-UK

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This report is about the safety of pins used to hold headstones in place.

Key Learning Outcomes

For civil and structural design engineers:

  • Be aware that a certain type of pin used to support headstones does not comply with BS 8415/2012 and that the BSI are reportedly looking to publish an amendment to their standards (2016)

  • Consider designing for the possibility of vandalism when designing monumental masonry and assessing its stability

Full Report

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The Full Report below has been submitted to CROSS and describes the reporter’s experience. The text has been edited for clarity and to ensure anonymity and confidentiality by removing any identifiable details. If you would like to know more about our secure reporting process or submit a report yourself, please visit the reporting to CROSS-UK page.


This report is about the safety of pins used to hold headstones in place and representations have been made to the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) to publicise the matter through CROSS.

There is a standard pin which is widely used in the monumental masonry industry but which, when tested independently, failed when gravestones were pushed from behind or from the front.

Discussions have been held with the British Standards Institution (BSI) who have, according to the reporter, concluded that a certain type of pin does not comply with BS 8415/2012.  As the health and safety aspects of this matter are urgent BSI will reportedly publish an amendment to their standards.

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Yet another example of the general problem with fixings, from suspended ceilings, fireplaces, balconies, and now gravestones. Engineers involved with such monumental masonry should apply basic engineering principles to ensure stability under normal use and also consider the possibility of vandalism.

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