A cemetery is defined as “land that has been set aside for the interment of human remains.” The reality is that cemeteries are also workplaces. Cemetery workers are general ground maintenance workers with priority being the tending to graves and memorial sites. Additional duties include interments, assessing stability of memorials, maintaining cemetery furniture and other related infrastructure. What places them apart from traditional grounds workers is the sensitivity required to provide a compassionate and professional environment. The grieving process must be understood when dealing with persons especially those not wanting to comply with cemetery rules of conduct and proper operation of the cemetery. Additionally, working near heavy equipment, use and care of specialty tools associated with cemetery operations in all types of weather conditions can be high risk if not performed correctly.
Cemetery workers are covered under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and as such must meet the obligation of “competent person” as defined in the Act. The Act further requires that burial authorities provide a safe workplace and systems of work that will protect the employees, persons attending and officiating at funerals, visitors and any other person that may use a cemetery. The training course has been designed to showcase proven safe work practices and to encourage a process of thought that will assist with accident prevention while ensuring professional conduct by those responsible for daily cemetery operations.
Training will include presentations by industry leaders such as funeral directors, government officials, monument builders and cemetery designers. A site visit will allow participants to gain firsthand experience on general grounds and buildings, operational activities while understanding the role and importance of historical infrastructure such as chapels and mausoleums.
Participants will view:
Workplace-Specific Training: A reminder is given to facility supervisory staff that to complete the educational process successful participants must return to work and be provided with workplace-specific training.
Personal Protective Equipment: Participants attending this course are required to supply and wear their own CSA-approved footwear suitable for a cemetery work environment. No exceptions.
Instructor: George Barnes, ADA, Director of Parks and Outside Services, City of Cambridge (Retired)
This course is worth 28 professional development credits towards recertification of any ORFA professional designation.