Every day, millions of us will drive or walk over – or maybe around – the heavy, noisy steel plate covers that have
appeared on our roads and pavements for decades. Entrenched in our daily lives, they have created an unwelcome
soundtrack to any busy urban work zone.
Prone to shifting, as well as contributing to slips and trips, the plates are also alleged to cause damage to vehicles
using our streets.
Sleepless nights and disrupted days due to noise pollution could, however, soon to be a thing of the past, as the
latest developments from the UK, eliminate the shortcomings of their heavy metal counterparts, by combining
composite materials with intelligent design – while also delivering significant cost savings.
A privately owned British business, Oxford Plastics, has been driving innovation in the safety of construction, road,
and utility works, around the world, for over 30 years.
Joel Evans, Oxford Plastics, explains:
“Our business was founded on a desire to solve problems through design. At Oxford Plastics we are passionate about innovation and invest heavily to create products that meet the evolving needs of our customers, new regulations, and changing legislation. We collaborate with our customers to design high performance safety solutions with increased functionality – and unique benefits.”
The evolution of the Oxford Trench Cover and Road Plate ranges came about in response to the market’s need to
improve equipment utilization and reduce cost – while also guaranteeing site safety and improving the image of
urban work zones. Popular with utility firms, these innovative products are particularly successful in allowing the
temporary re-opening of roadways during the rush hour to reduce traffic delays.
Moulded from a single piece of glass-reinforced composite and much lighter than traditional steel plates, the Oxford
Plastics Trench Covers – deployed worldwide for the past decade – are now making street works easier and safer
for contractors across Australia and New Zealand and keeping the public moving.
Evans continues; “When developing our composite range, we identified our customers’ key challenges – and came
up with solutions to eliminate or significantly reduce them. For example, when using steel plates, the need for heavy
lifting equipment - plus transportation, security and regular maintenance costs - were all eroding our customers’
profits. Furthermore, the steel plates were attracting negative feedback from the public in terms of noise pollution
and trip hazards – as well as the inconvenience of pavement closures - all presenting a significant risk in terms of
“Our response to these costly challenges was the creation of progressive new products. Quick and easy to deploy,
the Trench Covers and Road Plates minimize downtime as no heavy lifting equipment is required; a simple two-man
lift makes light of what was once a major task – yet the Road Plates are strong enough to withstand the weight of a
44 tonne truck.
“Customers also found the delivery and collection costs of steel plates a challenge – along with security issues due
to the inherently high scrap value. Oxford’s response to this was to develop a range that attracted significantly
reduced transportation costs and eliminated site security issues, as the covers have no scrap value.
“Maintenance costs were also targeted; the permanent anti-slip surface and hi-visibility yellow composite material
remove the need to ongoing maintenance associated with the re-instatement of anti-slip surfaces.” The latest addition to the Oxford Road Plate range is a 1200mm cover – engineered specifically to meet the demands of contractors across Australia and New Zealand.
Evans comments; “Following the success of our 15/05 Road Plate, we recognized that utilities, construction, and
street works contractors, were increasingly required to cover wider trenches. Traditional solutions are costly and
cumbersome – so we have introduced the 23/05 Road Plate to deliver the same benefits to larger excavation
projects. Based on our proven 15/05 design, the new Road Plate can withstand a 44 tonne vehicle over a 1200mm
wide trench – or a 1500mm trench in pedestrian applications.”
ADA compliant due to its 1:17 gradient, the new Road Plate launched in Spring 2017
Oxford Plastic Systems Ltd is the leading independent UK manufacturer of the world’s most innovative range of site
Established in 1985 as a trade moulding specialist, Oxford Plastic Systems has a wealth of expertise in the design
and engineering of innovative, customized safety products which are deployed every day within safety critical
applications such as utilities, construction, industrial, highway works, and events projects, around the globe.
Guaranteeing compliance with the latest legislation, our award-winning portfolio includes temporary fence products,
barriers, road plates and trench covers, signs and cones, ground protection mats, and heavy bases.
We invest heavily in research and development, working in partnership with our customers, to meet their evolving
needs, and designing and developing solutions to the industry’s greatest challenges, in terms of safety and
With expertise in the sustainable design and manufacture of injection, compression and blow moulded products,
75% of our products are made from recycled plastic and 100% are recyclable.