Unit of competency details

SIFCBCR003 - Dig graves manually (Release 2)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
2 (this release)Current 10/Oct/2013
(View details for release 1) Replaced21/Jun/2013

Usage recommendation:
Supersedes and is equivalent to SIFBCR020A - Dig a grave manually 20/Jun/2013

Training packages that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 110399 Personal Services, N.e.c. 

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 110399 Personal Services, N.e.c. 01/Nov/2013 
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Unit Of competency

Modification History

The details of this endorsed unit are in the table below. the latest information is at the top.




Editorial correction to prerequisite code.


This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to manually dig and re-open graves in a safe manner and assess gravesites to minimise the risk of grave collapse. It applies to cemetery staff involved in burial works working under supervision as part of a team and according to work health and safety, relevant legislation and workplace policies and procedures.

No licensing, legislative or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication.

Pre-requisite Unit

SIFCWHS001 Identify hazards and assess risks in a cemetery or crematorium

Competency Field

Burial and Cremation Operations

Unit Sector

Cemetery and Crematoria

Elements and Performance Criteria



Elements describe the essential outcomes.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element.

1. Conduct manual grave excavation and shoring.

1.1 Determine gravedigging requirement according to work requirements and risk assessment.

1.2 Locate gravesite according to cemetery map or plan and physical location.

1.3 Select and prepare personal protective equipment.

1.4 Assess grave shoring requirements.

1.5 Manually dig grave according to dimensions of coffin or casket using appropriate tools and equipment.

1.6 Identify and apply workplace procedures for safe storage of displaced earth or removal from site.

1.7 Undertake progressive grave shoring requirements according to work requirement using safe and appropriate shoring method.

1.8 Maintain above and below ground communication with other team members.

2. Minimise risk of grave collapse.

2.1 Maintain safe surface loadings according to soil type and condition.

2.2 Constantly monitor excavation for grave collapse warning signs.

2.3 Take appropriate corrective or emergency action.

3. Clean up and make safe open gravesite.

3.1 Cover surface area from edge of excavation to ensure soil integrity and stability and to provide safe work area for funeral.

3.2 Place grave supports and lowering devices in readiness for coffin or casket according to work requirements.

3.3 Clean area adjacent to grave and remove earth to ensure safety of funeral work area.

3.4 Place protective restraints to ensure access by authorised personnel only.

Foundation Skills

This section describes those language, literacy, numeracy and employment skills that are essential to performance.

Foundation skills essential to performance are explicit in the performance criteria of this unit of competency.

Unit Mapping Information

SIFBCR020A Dig a grave manually.


Companion Volume implementation guides are found in VETNet - https://vetnet.education.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=c2c3131e-4418-4aa3-8ff1-a855c95f7fd6


Assessment requirements

Modification History

Not applicable.

Performance Evidence

Evidence of the ability to:

  • select, prepare, use, maintain and clean the required tools and equipment
  • identify gravesite locations and assess safe excavation and shoring requirements for re-opening and manual gravedigging
  • apply shoring method according to work requirements
  • apply constant monitoring of excavation for grave collapse and take immediate corrective actions during manual gravedigging.

Evidence of performance of digging graves manually on two or more occasions is required to demonstrate consistency of performance and ability to respond to different situations.

Knowledge Evidence

Demonstrated knowledge of:

  • federal, state or territory, and local government legislation and regulations relating to work health and safety/occupational health and safety and gravedigging
  • workplace policies and procedures to maintain safety requirements
  • personal protective clothing and equipment used for gravedigging
  • use and safe operation of tools and equipment used for gravedigging
  • graver shoring methods and requirements, including:
  • required depth of grave
  • required depth of excavation for re-opening
  • techniques to deal with soil types and conditions:
  • sand
  • clay
  • rock
  • length of time soil exposed
  • breakdown of cohesive strength of soil
  • soil fretting
  • soil compaction
  • tension cracks
  • soil types and conditions relevant to shoring requirements
  • use of protective barriers
  • grave collapse warning signs, including:
  • fretting from top edge
  • slump in surface near excavation
  • tension cracks
  • support timbers bowing or creaking.
  • corrective or emergency actions in relation to grave collapse
  • risk assessment procedures
  • environmental impacts in relation to gravedigging and minimal impact practices to reduce these, especially those that relate to resource, water and energy use
  • environmentally sound disposal methods for all types of waste and in particular for hazardous substance.

Assessment Conditions

Skills must be demonstrated in the workplace or in a simulated environment that is as industry realistic as possible. In a simulated environment, it is essential that assessment is conducted:

  • using suitable facilities, equipment and resources, including:
  • an environment that allows for the digging of graves to accommodate required dimensions of coffins or caskets and application of appropriate shoring methods
  • gravedigging tools and personal protective equipment, grave supports, lowering devices and protective restraints
  • documentation, including cemetery map or plan
  • under industry conditions where there is:
  • integration of tasks with possible interruptions to work typical of the job role
  • speed and timing requirements that reflect commercial operating conditions
  • interaction with team members

Assessors must satisfy the NVR/AQTF mandatory competency requirements for assessors.


Companion Volume implementation guides are found in VETNet - https://vetnet.education.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=c2c3131e-4418-4aa3-8ff1-a855c95f7fd6

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