A new programme of ‘topple tests’ are being carried out on headstones in Halesowen to ensure graves are safe.
Each one is inspected to ensure it is stable and any found to be at risk of collapse are repaired.
More than 15,500 have so far been checked by Dudley Council at Stourbridge, Gornal Wood, Dudley, Brierley Hill, Cradley and Lye & Wollescote cemeteries.
Now work has started at Halesowen Cemetery where bereavement staff are concentrating on smaller headstones. They are the latest areas in the region to undergo the tests, which were first launched in 2007 on larger memorials in response to Government guidelines.
Officers test the memorials by hand, and those that wobble have had to be shored up to prevent them falling over in future.
Any headstones found to be unstable will be repaired with the costs met by the council.
Councillor Tracy Wood, cabinet member for environment and culture, said: “This is a rolling programme of work that will continue indefinitely to ensure that headstones in our cemeteries are maintained in a safe condition.
“We have completed checks on a number of our cemeteries and are currently carrying out the checks in Halesowen.”
The work will continue on a rolling scheme but the council says all lawn memorials should be inspected and made safe within the borough’s seven cemeteries in the next six months.
Once this is complete, the programme will move back to the larger, traditional memorials, starting with Halesowen and Dudley cemeteries before working through the other cemeteries over the coming years.
Bosses say all of the checks are being carried out sensitively and staff are available to speak to families directly to discuss the work.
Any memorials that fail the test are made safe in accordance with national industry standards.
This may include the introduction of a new base slab and installation of a ground anchor through the base of the memorial.
The borough’s seven cemeteries are Stourbridge, Gornal Wood, Dudley, Brierley Hill, Cradley, Halesowen and Lye and Wollescote.
Anyone wanting more information on the testing programme can contact the memorial safety team at Stourbridge crematorium office, on 01384 814011.