Undertakers have suffered serious injuries from shifting a rising number of obese corpses
UNDERTAKERS have been left with serious injuries as they try and shift an increasing number of obese corpses, The Sun can reveal. Funeral staff are suffering as the average width of coffins has shot up by four inches in the last decade.
They have been left with strained shoulders and backs after carrying XXL coffins that left them off sick for weeks, stats released to The Sun by the Health and Safety Executive show.
One broke their arm when their colleague dropped a corpse on them that “weighed more than expected”. Another pulled their hamstring and was off work for a week after injuring themselves as they took the strain lowering a coffin into a grave.
And one funeral worker was signed off with back spasms for a week after he tried to shift a coffin with his female colleague and collapsed in agony.
The National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD), said funeral directors have been forced to “provision for the increase in obesity in the UK”.
It said many have had to stock specialist gear including rise and fall decks in funeral vehicles, bariatric stretchers, larger-size mortuary refrigerators as well as offer specialist training for staff.
A spokesman said: “Experience from our members suggests that average coffin widths have gone up in the past ten years, from around 20-22 inches to 22-24 inches. Funeral directors primary objective is to ensure that all clients – and their families – are cared for with respect and treated with dignity.”
The cases were amongst 115 serious work-related accidents that took place in the funeral sector last year and were reported to the Health and Safety Executive. They detail how staff are warned about the risks associated with lifting heavy bodies and are urged to call upon extra staff or use equipment such as trolleys and hoists to avoid problems.
One undertaker strained their stomach when they tried to lift a corpse after dressing it with a colleague. There were also a number of cases of people falling into open graves, being crushed by tumbling coffins and embalmers ending up in A&E when they slipped up on the job.
A Birmingham City Council worker needed hospital treatment after they accidentally fell into an open grave and fractured their skull in the fall. A Co-Op Funerals employee suffered severe back injuries after a 4ft (1.2m) high stack of coffins they had been trying to move toppled over on top of him.
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Another case saw an embalmer cut their own finger by mistake as they were putting a body back together and accidentally stitched through their own limb. And one freakishly tall funeral worker complained of nerve damage to their neck and shoulder – because they were carrying coffins with people much shorter than them.
But the worst day for undertakers came when they had to shift the 65 stone (412kg) body of Britain’s fattest man Carl Thompson in 2015. His coffin was twice the size of a regular casket and 12 pallbearers had to use a specialised larger trolley to move it.
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