Unit of competency details

SIFCBCR007 - Dig graves using machinery (Release 3)


Usage recommendation:
Supersedes and is equivalent to SIFBCR023A - Dig a grave using machinery 20/Jun/2013

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
3 (this release) 10/Oct/2013
(View details for release 2) 02/Jul/2013
(View details for release 1) 21/Jun/2013


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 use machinery to dig or re-open a grave in a safe manner and assess gravesites to minimise the risk of grave collapse. It applies to cemetery and crematorium staff involved in burial works and work under supervision as part of a team. It involves ensuring that all work is carried out 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 grave excavation and shoring.

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

1.2 Locate appropriate 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 Dig grave using machinery and appropriate tools and equipment according to manufacturer guidelines and dimensions of coffin or casket.

1.6 Apply workplace procedures for safe storage of displaced earth or removal from site.

1.7 Undertake progressive grave shoring requirements using a 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 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 Assess and address damage caused to adjacent graves by machinery.

3.5 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

SIFBCR023A Dig a grave using machinery.


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


Assessment requirements

Modification History

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




Grammatical error corrected in Performance Evidence.


Reflects the Standards for Training Packages.

Performance Evidence

Evidence of the ability to:

  • select, prepare, use, and maintain the required tools, equipment and machinery according to supervisor instructions, workplace policies and procedures, and manufacturer guidelines
  • identify gravesite locations and assess safe excavation and shoring requirements for re-opening and machine based gravedigging
  • monitor excavation constantly for grave collapse and take immediate corrective actions during gravedigging.

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

Knowledge Evidence

Demonstrated knowledge of:

  • corrective or emergency actions in the event of a collapsing grave
  • workplace policies and procedures to maintain safety requirements
  • machinery used for gravedigging and associated uses
  • operating procedures for relevant machinery
  • federal, state or territory, and local government legislation and regulations relating to work health and safety/occupational health and safety and gravedigging
  • grave shoring methods
  • grave shoring 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
  • corrective or emergency actions in relation to grave collapse
  • risk assessment procedures for gravedigging using machinery
  • safe storage of displaced earth
  • 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
  • use of protective barriers.

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:
  • a cemetery environment that allows for machine digging of graves to accommodate required dimensions of coffins or caskets and application of appropriate shoring methods
  • grave digging tools, equipment, machinery, grave supports, lowering devices and protective restraints and personal protective equipment
  • 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.gov.au/Pages/TrainingDocs.aspx?q=c2c3131e-4418-4aa3-8ff1-a855c95f7fd6