Oxford Plastics with… Senior Customer Care Specialist (Hannah)

Here at Oxford Plastics, we think it’s important our clients and suppliers know about the excellent people who make Oxford Plastics the reassuring expert it is. That’s why we’ve started an ‘Oxford Plastics with…’ series – focussing on different members of the Oxford team. This aims to gain an understanding of their individual expertise and knowledge, as well as a little about who they are as people, too.

Q&A: Hannah Pinn

In our last Q&A article, we interviewed our UK Business Development Manager, Josh Willis, where we found out not only about what sets our trench covers apart from competitors, but also about his passion for race cars! This time, we’re turning our attention to the Customer Care Team – an integral cog in the Oxford Plastics machine – where we spoke to Hannah Pinn, Senior Customer Care Specialist.

The day to day

During this Q&A session, Hannah covered exactly what her role entails and her day-to-day duties and responsibilities. When asked what the common tasks the Customer Care Team carry out at Oxford Plastics, Hannah answered: “Communications in general – whether that’s electronic over email, or on the phone.

“As a team, we process all the orders that come in from across the world – which means that we’re solely responsible for the booking of the transport, the commercial documentation that’s required, and organising everything efficiently. Generally, people look to us for support and advice, as members of our team have been here a long time – so we typically have good knowledge on all the products.

“If there’s any extremely technical questions about products, we can divert this call to the technical director to ask for advice – as it’s likely they might have seen the products in situ, so have come across this specific query before.”

“Brexit has slightly affected things for us in our day-to-day in Europe and the UK, as we now have to complete paperwork that wouldn’t have had to do before – but in general, it’s not too much more.”

Comprehensive product support

As part of the Customer Care Team, Hannah has an extensive knowledge of the variety of products we provide here at Oxford Plastics. For someone who is enquiring around product information and pricing, Hannah responded:

“They would either give us a call, or they would drop us over an email – or make contact through the website in the form. We deal with distributors, who have a good understanding of the products – and they would normally have most of the information regarding which product they want.

“However, if we’re dealing with an end user, we would then try and ascertain what the best product for them would be – and then work out the best distributor and point them in the right direction. We could then provide them with leaflets and documentation for more information.”

Where could someone go to find out technical information such as dimensions, features and benefits of Oxford Plastics products?

“This would be the website – as this has most of the information that people need. We also have product sheets, which have been updated recently, technical guides and installation guides, too.”

With Oxford Plastics offering a range of trench covers, what’s the best way for users to help them decide with trench cover is most suitable?

“Our new LowPro Trench Cover Guide is available on our website or by request on email. It helps users to understand which product they need for the job.”

As Oxford Plastics offer a range of advanced products, such as road plates for trenches, if customers wanted to find installation information, Hannah explained:

“We have installation guides that we can send them, and these can be emailed across the different products that we provide.”

Which Oxford Plastics solutions and products have been popular recently?

Hannah explained that the EnduaSign QuickFit products, one of our newest innovative ranges, is gaining a lot of popularity at the moment: “There’s been a lot of interest so far, with the sales guys doing site visits and demos, and we’ve taken a fair few enquiries ourselves. I think it’s so popular because it’s so simple and easy to use.”

When asked about the all-time most popular product, for example, one that is always gaining the interest of our customers, Hannah replied:

“The barrier range – including our SafeGate barrier – and the whole trench cover range is always really popular with our customers.”

A little bit about Hannah

Having worked at Oxford Plastics for around 8 years, Hannah has always been a key member of the Customer Care Team. “I’ve always worked in the customer services sector, but this has evolved slightly during my time here – taking on extra responsibilities as time went on.”

When asked what her favourite product of the Oxford Plastics range would be, Hannah answered: “It would have to be the StrongWall barrier. There’s a real moment of pride when you see one of your products while you’re out and about, and as a popular product, you do see it a lot.

“It’s really great to see it on TV, or out in the streets – and it’s always nice to see it customised with corporate branding, too. It’s a really versatile product, easy to assemble – and our customers love it! I think their passion rubs off on you.”

When asked about her favourite part of the role, Hannah explained that it is:

“Definitely the variety. There’s never a dull day working here. I also love speaking to people on the phone – I’m a ‘people person’, and I’ve tried working in a job where I didn’t speak to people all day, and it didn’t work for me!

“In general, you do have to love variety to work in this sort of role, as you jump from one thing to another quite quicky. It can be challenging, but I really love it.”

Keep an eye out for our next ‘Oxford Plastics with…’ series – where we’ll interview another member of our friendly, expert team. For more information, get in touch with us today – or browse our range of LowPro® solutions and trench covers.

How we’ve implemented social distancing safety

As the world is starting to make its way back to the days of ‘normality’, we’d like to take some time to analyse how Oxford Plastics have facilitated social distancing measures across various industries. Although we are likely to see the reintroduction of events at a capacity we were used to before 2020 (i.e. crowds of above 30 people), social distancing measures are still likely to be required and enforced in various facilities.

That’s why we have an ‘always on’ approach when it comes to safety. Ensuring that the safety of pedestrians, staff members, students and workers is a paramount part of our business – and one that is transferable to the aftermath of the pandemic. So, how do we implement our social distancing measures across multiple industries so effectively?

Funding Covid social distancing measures

Firstly, there are a number of funds which have been set up by the government to allow companies the scope to provide the necessary social distancing measures required by various industries and businesses. This includes:

Active travel fund

This refers to the final funding allocations for the local transport authorities of the active travel fund. The grant supports local transport authorities with producing both cycling and walking facilities, separated into two tranches:

  • Tranche 1: this funding supports the installation of temporary projects for the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Tranche 2: this funding supports the creation of longer-term projects.

Oxford Plastics fit into Tranche 2 funding – meaning that we can keep providing the high-quality equipment necessary to instil safe social distancing measures across multiple industries.

Welcome back fund

Another fund which supports social distancing measures derived from the pandemic is the Welcome Back fund. This funding builds on the Reopening High Streets Safely Fund, which was announced back in May 2020.

The fund provides councils across England with a share of £56 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to support the safe return to high streets and help build back better from the pandemic.

Our social distancing products

By using the Active Travel Fund to facilitate social distancing measures across multiple different types of locations, we are able to provide a variety of our plastic safety products to our end users. Some of the most popular social distancing equipment used includes:

  • StrongWall – our plastic safety barriers easily indicate to pedestrians the areas should be safe to walk in. This means, by using our StrongWall barrier, efficient social distancing can be maintained within a number of facilities.
  • StongFence – this 2m anti-climb fence is another great way of instilling social distancing measures for facilities, such as outdoor events and high streets.
  • ClearPath Temporary Walkway – our hi-visibility zebra crossing temporary walkway clearly indicates to pedestrians the safest path to walk and has been a successful form of social distancing at many sites, particularly including schools and education facilities.
  • EnduraSign – our EnduraSign QuickFit Frame can be used to erect signs in order to direct both road traffic and pedestrian traffic efficiently. The modular design means that the correct signage can be assembled quickly on site, leading to minimum disruption and maximum safety.

Where we’ve been able to implement social distancing measures

Some of the industries and locations where we’ve been able to provide social distancing measures effectively include:

  • High streets – with our safety barriers and temporary fences, we’ve been able to provide options for social distancing on the high street.
  • Schools – we’ve helped to keep students and staff safely distanced by clearly demarcating walkways, such as our ClearPath Temporary Walkway.
  • Department stores – protective measures for retail experiences have been put into place, from the car parks to the queuing systems at the entrance to the store.
  • University campuses – we’ve also been able to help places of education provide safety to large numbers of students and staff by minimising the risk of contact.

Now you’re clued in on how we facilitate social distancing through our site safety products, get in touch with a member of our team to find out more about our products. Request a quote today.

endura sign quick fit frame

Guide to EnduraSign QuickFit Frame

Here at Oxford Plastics, we’re proud to announce our new safety product range – the EnduraSign QuickFit Frame range – is now available. With numerous benefits such as being fitted with 4 antiluce droplocks, compatible with 300mm spaced QuickFit faces and being 40% more compact than other signs and the option of bespoke branding, learn more about this innovative range – and how it can simplify and improve your current ways of working.

What is the EnduraSign QuickFit Frame product range?

Compatible with 300mm drilled quick-fit sign faces, this sign frame is the perfect solution for any temporary road structure. The modular design allows the correct signage to be quickly assembled – with no sharp edges, meaning you get a simple folding system for easy storage. This product is proficient in managing both traffic flow as well as pedestrian traffic, and will only need one frame for multiple signs faces – saving space in a works van.

Made from recycled PVC, this product replaces single-use sandbags, ensuring that installation remains compliant in all weather conditions. The EnduraSign Ballast works alongside the EnduraSign QuickFit Frame by locking securely into the frame, meaning that more can be added in high wind conditions securely and easily, ranging from Category C, B & A wind loading.

Why we developed this range

We’re constantly looking to improve and define our product ranges – which is why we actively listen to our end users. They told us that there were a number of issues with current construction safety products on the market that needed resolving:

  • Easily broken – existing streetworks signs break easily
  • Non-compliance notices – peeling and damaged reflective leads to costly non-compliance notices
  • Capacity – signs take up a lot of space on work vans, meaning there is less room for other safety equipment

Main benefits of this range

By creating the EnduraSign QuickFit Frame range, this aims to easily solve the above problems that end users are facing by the following new features:

  • Damaged sign faces – using changeable signs, you’re able to easily change any damaged or broken sign faces – to get the sign up and running again as quickly as possible. We also offer the ‘Right to Repair’ – meaning that if the droplocks were to break, for example, these can be supplied for replacement from Oxford Plastics.
  • 40% more compact than other signs – allowing users to stack compactly for transport purposes.
  • Super durable – meaning they can be driven over and still spring back into shape.
  • Reduces non-compliance – 19mph wind resistance without ballasting, meaning non-compliance fines due to signs falling over will be reduced. Add one or multiple EnduraSign Ballasts to the frame to achieve Category B & A.
  • Bespoke branding – option of corporate branding for theft prevention and inventory management. Choose from RAL coloured frames, and an embossed logo on the leg or the ballast.

This new innovative safety product range essentially solves all the above problems that traffic management contractors experience with current safety products in the marketplace, and Oxford Plastics aims to be the number one safety equipment provider in the UK.

Who is this product range aimed at?

Designed with our UK and European markets in mind, the main consumers for this product range include:

Want to know more about our new innovative product range? Get in touch with a member of our specialist team here at Oxford Plastics.

Our recycling and sustainability mission

Here at Oxford Plastics, we are dedicated to reducing the amount of waste produced and recycling our materials where possible. We have a detailed recycling and sustainability promise for our customers and end users – which follows the notion that:

  • We aim to design out waste & pollution in our products and processes.
  • We keep products & materials in use through the ‘Right to Repair’.
  • We manufacture long-lasting innovative site safety equipment.

What we do to maintain our sustainability promise

We’re proud to contribute to the concept of a circular economy: “A circular economy is based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use” – Ellen MacArthur Foundation. And the best way for Oxford Plastics to contribute is by prolonging the life of the products we sell, by ensuring they withstand the test of time using rigorous testing measures.

We also have the 2021 goal of reducing our site’s carbon footprint by using low-carbon or zero-carbon energy sources to run it. This energy will then be used directly in our manufacturing process in order to power our moulding machines, and indirectly power the offices we have on site.

Sustainable safety products

When it comes to our sustainability promise, we endeavour to be as environmentally friendly as possible – which is why we source our recycled and virgin materials from the UK and Europe, and source materials locally wherever possible to reduce our carbon footprint.

All the products we design are created with recycled materials in mind. We have even partnered with Barclay’s Green Asset Finance to provide a more energy efficient solution to our creation process, purchasing more sustainable moulding machines and components.

Wherever we can, we try to provide a sustainable solution for our products. For example, our Lantis Barrier range is the only product of its type in the world – made from 85% PCR (post-consumer resin) plastic which comes from plastic bags and wrapping used by retailers and factories. However, the most important part of our environmental sustainability and recycling promise is PVC recycling.

PVC Recycling

Here at our Enstone site, we have the ability to recycle and reuse PVC where possible. This material is then reused in other products we manufacture, too. On average, we use around 23,000 tonnes of recycled PVC each year to create our products.

Which PVC products can be recycled?

Our PVC plastic safety products which can be recycled include items such as:

The ‘Right to Repair’ act

Here at Oxford Plastics, we are also proud to offer the ‘Right to Repair’. This approach ensures that when you buy a product from a company or business, said business should then provide you with the ability to repair this product if it has broken – rather than simply having to buy a new one. This means we are able to extend the product’s life and encourage our end users to repair rather than replace – creating a more sustainable safety solution.

In order to facilitate this for our customers, we sell replacement parts and features of our plastic safety products. For example, if a foot breaks on one of our pedestrian barriers, we can provide you with a new foot and instructions on how to fit it.

Need to return our products for recycling?

Returning your products for recycling purposes couldn’t be easier with Oxford Plastics.

  • Step 1: contact sales@oxfordplastics.com to confirm whether your products can be returned to our Enstone site for recycling or reuse. In this email, please include images and a description of the goods
  • Step 2: you can then arrange haulage and pay the £15 handling fee per pallet for products returned to us
  • Step 3: the products which are made of recycled PVC are then recycled on site in Enstone.

For more information on our sustainable safety products, get in touch with a member of our friendly team today.

Lane Rental scheme

Lane Rental scheme: changes and how we can help

The TfL Lane Rental scheme, initially introduced in 2012, applies to the most traffic-sensitive areas and times of day in the UK – accounting for around 69% of the Transport for London Road Network. The scheme is designed to encourage behaviour change and reduce highway occupation by implementing a daily charge to utility companies that are undertaking roadworks or construction in these areas. This then encourages workers to get the job done quicker – thereby causing less disruption to traffic flow, pedestrians and noise pollution.

What is the Lane Rental scheme daily charge?

The charge of renting this space for streetworks can often be as much as £2,500 per day. However, weekends are typically charged at a lower rate than weekdays and peak times. The scheme focuses on London and its boroughs currently, but may be expanded to further areas in the future.

When work is required on highways at critical times and locations, the New Roads and Street Works Act gives highway authorities the ability to implement Permit schemes and Lane Rental Charges – which unfortunately results in large costs for utility companies. Public perception of utility organisations is then, in turn, influenced by the disruption caused when works are carried out.

This scheme affects our end users, the contractors and utility companies as they are the ones who are charged for their work, and the time it takes to complete this work. That’s why providing the most time-efficient equipment is so important, as it allows our end users to get the job done quickly and safely.

Key facts about the Lane Rental scheme

  • It is estimated that there are around 4 million excavations carried out annually by utility companies which incur costs of circa £5.5billion.
  • The majority of utility assets (pipes, cables, ducts etc.) in the UK are underground. Therefore, any installation, modification, repair or replacement of these assets will require some method of excavation.
  • There are a number of techniques that address the installation, modification, repair or replacement of assets for excavation, with some examples being open cut trenching, directional drilling, pipe bursting and impact moling.
  • Roadworks and construction can affect the public in a variety of ways, and there needs to be a particular focus on improving this for those who are vulnerable or disadvantaged.

What changes have been made to the Lane Rental scheme?

On 1st May 2021, new changes were made to the Lane Rental scheme by TfL due to feedback from utility companies. This was done in order to:

  • Reflect modern day travel demands (e.g. walking, cycling, public transport)
  • Reward those with exemplary works safety and disruption mitigation records
  • Encourage major infrastructure renewal projects
  • Provide increased opportunities to avoid charges

The changes being made to the scheme include:

  • Extending the Lane Rental scheme network from 56% to 69%
  • Increasing tidal locations (AM or PM peak periods) by 16%
  • Lane Rental only operating until 8pm latest on a weekday (changed from 10pm)
  • 65% of the calendar week is now free from charges
  • Charges for works that deliver major infrastructure improvements reduced by 50%

Learn more about the Lane Rental scheme from TfL now.

How Oxford Plastics can help alleviate Lane Rental scheme pain

Here at Oxford Plastics, we pride ourselves on the fact we are a solutions provider. We’ve listened closely to our end users and understand the problems they have, and are exposed to, with this scheme. That’s why it’s so important to provide solutions that mean workers can be in and out of the job quickly and easily – trusting the safety equipment they are working with, enabling them to get the work done in a timely, yet safe, manner.

Safety products to increase efficiency

With construction and streetworks, there’s often periods of time where work has been implemented somewhat, but hasn’t been completed – which can still cause disruption to traffic flow. For example, when pipe lane work is being done, there could be a 12-hour period where asphalt needs to be backfilled in again – but by putting something down or across the roadworks, it means people can continue to drive over the trench. Some of the products that minimise disruption during streetworks include:

  • Road plates and trench covers – by using road plates or trench covers, the road can be opened up again in between works – meaning that disruption can be minimised, as traffic can drive over this equipment safely and easily.
  • Safety barriers – here at Oxford Plastics, we provide a wide range of barriers – including the Avalon barrier, the SafeGate and the StrongWall barrier. These plastic barriers allow for areas to be cordoned off safely – providing safe access for pedestrians around areas of roadworks or construction.
  • EnduraSign QuickFit Frame – we’re proud to present one of our newest products, the EnduraSign QuickFit Frame. Compatible with 300mm drilled sign faces, this can be used to alert pedestrians and road users of ongoing construction work and activity.

For more information on Lane Rental schemes, and how Oxford Plastics can help reduce daily rental charge by providing time-efficient safety equipment, get in touch with our expert team today.

Chapter 8 & Red Book

Guide to Chapter 8 & Red Book compliant products

Understanding Chapter 8 & the Red Book is essential before starting street works. That’s why Oxford Plastics have put together this overview of what exactly is the Red Book? And what do I need to consider when selecting the right equipment for the job?

Here at Oxford Plastics, we are proud to supply a variety of Chapter 8 and Red Book compliant safety products. These products offer a sustainable, efficient solution for a range of sectors, such as construction sites and streetworks. That’s why we’ve put together this handy animation to show you exactly why you should choose Oxford Plastics as your Chapter 8 and Red Book partner:

Oxford Plastics product range is fully Chapter 8 and Red Book compliant. Streets and highway-works in the UK are stringently managed through these regulations. Chapter 8 and The Red Book outline all you need to know about setting up streetworks, including health and safety requirements, the materials road-facing products can be made from, ballasting requirements and streetworks layouts.

These detailed codes of practice are essential to the design and development of Oxford Plastic’s products, and mean that they can be used confidently in street and highways works, facilities management and on construction sites across the world.

Our Chapter 8 compliant safety products

Strongwall Barrier

This heavy-duty barrier is an absolute must for live work sites. Add the plastic fence panel to create a 2m high anti-climb advanced barrier system for deep site excavations. The high visibility plastic construction is extremely easy to erect and forms a robust parameter.

Avalon Barrier

Available in three sizes for ultimate flexibility, these strong, lightweight barriers fit together in seconds, are supplied with hi-visibility anti-trip feet and can be ballasted for winds up to 60mph.

SafeGate Man Hole Barrier System

This high-visibility portable gate barrier is designed for use around manhole and temporary excavations. The modular design allows for a range of configurations. It is lightweight and easily stored, and can be used with SafeBases for greater stability in high winds.

Highway man cones

The highway man cone is a 2-part high-visibility cone that is ideal for heavy traffic, motorway, contraflow, lane delineation and parking management. The size of the cone varies – depending on the required application. Making it the perfect solution for any streetworks scenario.

EnduraSign & Ballast

Traffic signs are essential for active sites to alert and inform both drivers and pedestrians. These super durable road signs are manufactured from non-crack plastic. The intelligently designed system means they fold flat when not use and when used with the purpose-made ballast, they can withstand all that nature has to throw at them – meaning no more non-compliance fines for fallen over signage.

SupaGrip Ramp

Our anti-slide wheelchair and pedestrian kerb ramps feature our patented Low Pro technology, allowing foot traffic to pass from the kerb into the roadway – reducing unwanted movement and inspiring confidence in the user – no matter what the conditions.

LowPro Trench Cover Systems

For routine utility works and mains replacements, we have a range of Anti Slide Low Pro trench covers, which have been engineered for strength, durability and practicality. Choose from three Low Pro Trench Covers to suit your application – suitable for up to 3.5 tonne vehicles and pedestrians, the LowPro edges grip the asphalt – meaning pinning is rarely needed. And the purpose-made infills mean that a smooth, trip-free surface is maintained – allowing for expansion horizontally and vertically.

Why choose Oxford Plastics

The Oxford Plastics range of site safety products is made from virgin and recycled materials. They feature British Standard reflective materials, and are designed to minimise the risk of harm to pedestrians and vehicle alike. Together, they form the most comprehensive range of intelligently designed and engineered site safety products available anywhere – keeping the public, and the workforce, safe.

Still looking for some advice on which Chapter 8 or Red Book compliant product is the perfect fit for you? Get in touch with our team of friendly experts here at Oxford Plastics today.

road plates and trench covers

Ultimate guide to trench covers and road plates

Why choose trench covers and road plates from Oxford Plastics?

Here at Oxford Plastics, we’re proud of our wide range of plastic trench covers and road plates – offering a sustainable, efficient solution for a range of sectors, such as construction sites and streetworks. That’s why we’ve put together this handy animation to show you exactly why you should choose Oxford Plastics as your trench cover and road plate partner:

Our patented engineered solutions have been perfected by our dedicated team of engineers, creating a range of road plates and trench covers that are all HAUC compliant. This puts them at the very forefront of road safety engineering.

Our LowPro ranges of trench covers and road plates are the most comprehensive in the market – meaning we have a one-stop site safety solution for every possible scenario.

Specifically designed to replace dangerous, noisy, unreliable and composite steel plates, all LowPro road plates and trench covers are easily manoeuvred into position by the individual, or team of two, using our easy lift handles.

Once in place, our road plates are secured with our patented drop pins – and with ramped LowPro edges featured across the whole range of road plates and trench covers. They make pedestrian and wheelchair use safe and practical.

Flexibility is a key feature in the design of our trench covers. Expansion is managed easily and quickly, locking into position to form a super strong cover. And with the whole range having all the information you need moulded into the slip-proof surface of the product, you’ll always know that your installation is sound.

Supporting a guaranteed maximum load weight of up to 44 tonnes on a 1200mm trench, all of our road plates and trench covers are routinely tested to ensure a 2-1 safety factor – making them the most reliable, flexible and safe system for today’s demanding world. At Oxford Plastics, we’ve got it covered.

Types of trench covers available

A trench cover is generally used to cover bores, apertures and trenches – typically for the construction industry, or for maintenance and repair works. Trench covers can be used for both pedestrian and residential use, as well as for driveways and the construction industry. We’re proud to offer a wide range of trench covers, which include:

  • LowPro 15/10 – this anti-slide driveway board is typically used over a 900mm trench, which comes with an infill strip.
  • LowPro 12/8 – alternatively, this is an anti-slide pedestrian board which is used over a 700mm trench which comes with an infill strip.
  • LowPro 11/11 Pedestrian Board – this anti-slide pedestrian board is typically used over 700mm trench.
  • 16/12 Safe Cover – this driveway board is generally used over a 900m trench.
  • 12/8 Sage Cover – this is an anti-slide pedestrian board which is used over a 700mm trench.

Find out more about what safety trench cover you need from our detailed guide to trench covers.

Types of road plates available

Road plates are most commonly used to cover up a temporary excavation, bore hole or trench – providing a temporary solution for ground excavations where traffic, machinery or pedestrians would need access. Here at Oxford Plastics, we offer a selection of road plates, including:

  • LowPro 23/05 – this modular road plate is typically used over a 1200mm trench.
  • LowPro 15/05 – this modular road plate is typically used over a 700mm trench.

Learn more about what road plates are used for and more from our detailed guide to road plates.

Which is the best product for me?

Although we supply a wide range of both road plates and trench covers, we understand different products will suit different needs. That’s why we’ve put together a list of our top 5 road plates and trench covers – which is based on our top performing products and our customer’s favourites – giving you the guidance you need to choose the best product for you.

Still need some advice on trench covers or road plates? Get in touch with our team of friendly experts here at Oxford Plastics today.

Disabilities in streetworks

Streetworks are a necessary part of maintaining road infrastructure, pedestrian safety and the modernisation of our environment. However, this often poses its challenges to pedestrian accessibility – especially for those that suffer with a disability that affects their mobility.

The Equality Act, 2010 states that streetworks, or construction work, should be planned so that they do “not put a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person”.

That’s why, here at Oxford Plastics, not only do we provide the relevant equipment to ensure that pedestrian safety is maintained at all times during streetworks, but also the capability to cater for everyone – providing an all-inclusive way of working. We comply to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 – meaning that our Chapter 8 streetworks products are applicable to those who are disabled, and can be used and installed in a way that caters specifically to those who suffer with mobility issues. This isn’t always just wheelchair users, either – it could refer to the elderly, parents with prams and pedestrians who need to use a stick or a guide-dog.

It’s also important to consider the hidden disabilities that people may be facing – such as autism, dementia or learning disabilities. Although this may not directly hinder people’s mobility, the impact of streetworks accessibility may be confusing for people – which again, shows why it’s so important that the correct safety measures are implemented.

How OPS products support disabilities

We’re proud that our variety of products can cater for those with disabilities – and there are a number of products and ancillary items which are the perfect choice in these circumstances:

  • SafeKerb Ramp – this is our legacy wheelchair ramp, and has been a staple product for many years. It provides safe access for wheelchair, pushchair, motorised wheelchair, bicycle and foot traffic up to 250kg.
  • SupaGrip Ramp – this product is more recently designed, and follows on from the SafeKerb ramp. This product differs in its design – with its black edging that grips the surface to greatly reduce unwanted movement – but also in terms of weighting, as this ramp can take more weight (up to 350kg) than the SafeKerb ramp.
  • Infill strips – our infill strips complement our range of LowPro Trench Covers well, allowing a flat surface which is perfect for wheelchair access. These strips not only remove the trip hazards sometimes faced by two joining trench covers, but they also stop the boards from moving, as there’s no lateral movement, ensuring a safe and stable platform for pedestrians.

Disabled access during Covid lockdown restrictions

In recent months, disabled access has become more of a pressing problem as restaurants and bars have extended their outdoor table offering. By doing so, this has often led to pedestrian access being compromised – as this space has been used for extra tables, in order for the hospitality industry to pull in more revenue in the wake of hospitality restrictions.

This is likely to have been a slight inconvenience for most pedestrians, but for wheelchair users in particular, this has proven to be quite challenging. A clip has recently gone viral of 25-year-old Katie Pennick struggling to fit through the gaps between diners in Soho, London. iNews have the original clip – which shows her struggling to navigate her way through socially-distanced tables located in the middle of the pavement. One of the most important factors about this is that Katie actually uses a ‘teenage’ wheelchair – meaning the wheelchair itself is “tiny” and only “23 inches wide”. She said: “If I’m struggling to get through these ‘gaps’, they are completely impassable for most wheelchair users.

“And it’s not just wheelchair users who can’t get by. It’s people with buggies, wheelchairs, large families, scooters and visually impaired people who use guide dogs.” This clip has prompted businesses to ‘not forget’ disabled people in its outdoor seating plans.

That’s why, here at Oxford Plastics, we’re aware that there can be a problem for disabled pedestrians – and we feel confident we are able to offer solutions to help solve these problems, and make their lives easier when streetworks are happening.

Our UK Business Development Manager, Josh Willis, adds: “Designing and manufacturing products with the challenges faced by those with physical or hidden disabilities is at the heart of all OPS products.

OPS’s innovations in LowPro trench cover technology and the completely anti trip Clearpath Extra barrier feet are testament to this.”

If you’re interested in our disabled ramp construction equipment, or simply want to know more, get in touch with a member of our expert team now.

Oxford Plastics with… UK Business Development Manager (Josh)

Here at Oxford Plastics, we think it’s important our clients and suppliers know about the excellent people who make Oxford Plastics the reassuring expert it is. That’s why we’ve started an ‘Oxford Plastics with…’ series – focussing on different members of the Oxford team. This aims to gain an understanding of their individual expertise and knowledge, as well as a little about who they are as people, too.

Q&A: Josh Willis

Our first Q&A session kicks off with Josh Willis – UK Business Development Manager here at Oxford Plastics. He explains how his role allows him to work with distributors and end users, pushing the products Oxford Plastics already supply as well as designing new ones together – making this definitely not your average BDM sales role! “I massively enjoy it – it’s a role that means I’m not just sat trying to sell stuff, but I focus on the technical aspects too – making it a breath of fresh air.”

Insider Knowledge

During this Q&A session, Josh touches on the value of the LowPro® range, the different uses for trench covers and more insider knowledge about our products.

Josh introduces the LowPro® range as the solution which has had the most impact in the past few years within the UK market. “It enables the user to not need to pin the board in most cases, and a lot of companies use this product as it costs too much to drill holes and reinstate tarmac – so the LowPro® range acts as a solution to that. It prevents sliding and moving, and that’s why most people come to us for the product as it’s so impactful.”

So, what sets our trench covers and road plates apart from the alternatives?

Josh’s favourite product is the LowPro® range – which, due to its high-quality features, is easy to talk about because it’s so good at its job. “It far exceeds what it’s meant to do – people trust it so much because it’s so strong.”

Another feature that Josh mentioned that sets Oxford Plastics apart from their competitors is that they always perform rigorous testing of each batch they manufacture, keeping the end user in mind at all times.

Josh exclaimed about our LowPro® technology. “All boards are customisable – meaning companies can add their company name or branding colour. With our black edging on the boards, and being one of the first businesses to bring this in, this massively sets us apart – and is definitely why people come to us.

“Our boards can be customised to feature any types of symbols, too, such as arrows, making it user friendly.” Another feature that Josh mentioned that sets Oxford Plastics apart from their competitors is that they always perform rigorous testing of each batch they manufacture, keeping the end user in mind at all times.

What are the uses for trench covers, and are they reusable?

There are many different uses for trench covers, including trenching, routine utility works in the footway and driveway, excavation and on construction projects where there is a temporary excavation and vehicle or pedestrian access is required. However, Josh explains there are often cases where trench covers are used incorrectly:

“This can happen on a daily basis. Footway boards are used over driveways, as people aren’t aware of the regulations surrounding what they can and cannot do with each board. Sometimes, trench covers can be cut out to fit a unique situation, such as a lamppost – but as soon as these boards are cut in any way, it affects the structure, and should no longer be used. However, if they are still structurally intact, there is no limit to the number of times a trench cover can be used – as long as they’re being used in their correct environments, they can last for many years.” Learn more about HAUC now.

Josh also explained how that these boards can be reused for energy at end of life: “Trench covers are reusable, as they are made up of a Sheet Mould Compound (SMC) – which is moulded around a steel reinforced grip, giving it its overall strength – it’s hard to recycle this material.

“Instead, we send boards at the end of life to a partner company to reuse the boards to create energy. This allows for an environmentally friendly way of reusing the boards.”

A little bit about Josh

Josh has worked at Oxford Plastics for 4.5 years, coming in at a customer care service level. He began his journey here learning about the products and working more in a customer support role, with this allowing him to understand the products in more detail. One year later, he moved to Business Development Executive – and eventually morphed into the Business Development Manager as the company grew, and the departments were outlined more.

When asked what his favourite part of working for Oxford Plastics is, he said: “The fact it’s a small family-feel company. I like that I’m able to pick up the phone and get hold of anyone at any time – it just allows us to all have that personal touch.

“You feel part of the company – as, if you were working for a larger, commercial and corporate business, you wouldn’t have that ability to keep the family-feel.

“That’s why everyone wants to be here. You haven’t got any ‘9-5ers’ who are simply there to pick up a pay cheque and leave – everyone is willing to go the extra mile, and everyone is invested in the company.

“The growth here is fantastic – as we are expanding across international markets, having operated in the UK for 36 years, and we also have great presence within Europe and USA. It’s really good to see a product made in Enstone Oxfordshire being used across the globe – you could never imagine this 35 years ago.”

Outside of work, Josh enjoys anything with an engine – he is a car fanatic, and most of his hobbies revolve around anything from Formula One to classic cars. During lockdown, Josh has enhanced his fitness levels – managing to lose a mighty 20kg from running, HIIT workouts and weight training!

Keep an eye out for our next ‘Oxford Plastics with…’ series – where we’ll interview another member of our friendly, expert team. For more information, get in touch with us today – or browse our range of LowPro® solutions and trench covers.

temporary-walkways

Guide to temporary walkways

Looking for temporary walkways for over mud, or perhaps your construction site? Whatever the purpose, it’s important to understand exactly what a temporary walkway is, what the benefits are, and how this would comply with UK health and safety regulations. Learn everything you need to know about temporary pedestrian walkways from our detailed guide.

What are temporary pedestrian walkways?

A temporary walkway is designed to provide safe access for pedestrians. This could be across a construction site, during a streetworks operation, for facilities management or can be used at events. Here at Oxford Plastics, our temporary walkway mats can be used as zebra crossings – as well as permanent walkways for pedestrians if required.

Our range of temporary walkways is designed and manufactured in the UK, making them a local solution for multiple requirements. With a sturdy structure yet extremely easy and fast to install –  with no need for bolts – it’s easy to see why these temporary pedestrian walkways are a popular choice among our customers.

Benefits of temporary walkways

We are proud to supply our ClearPath® Mat – which is a temporary zebra crossing mat for pedestrians. So, why is this temporary walkway such a popular choice? Some of the main benefits include:

  • Environmentally friendly – our temporary walkways are 100% recyclable, and are also made from recycled plastic.
  • Quick installation – as this temporary walkway solution does not require bolting down, it’s very easy and fast to install.
  • Versatile – you can select whether you’d prefer our ClearPath® Mat for temporary use, or for more permanent pedestrian access.

How do temporary walkway mats adhere to health and safety regulations?

When considering installing a temporary pedestrian walkway, it’s natural you’d want to ensure this meets all health and safety regulations required. Here at Oxford Plastics, we are proud of our rigorous health and safety compliancy – and this can be seen through these features of our ClearPath® Mat:

  • Compliant with HSE – this is a facilities management and construction product which is fully compliant with HSE.
  • Anti-trip barrier –use in conjunction with the 2m Avalon Barrier with ClearPath® Extra Feet to create a secure walkway and prevent pedestrians from straying from the path.
  • Social distancing – our ClearPath® Mat can also help with social distancing, as it can divert the public away from a certain area in a calm manner by clear demarcating walkways, for example, in schools.
  • Rigorous testing – all of our products undergo testing in extreme environments to ensure the durability of the product, and guarantee its longevity as a permanent solution. We slip test our ClearPath® mats – meaning they are highly non-slip in both wet and dry conditions.

Here at Oxford Plastics, we’re proud to supply the most comprehensive range of intelligently designed and engineered site safety products available anywhere. For more information about our range of ground protection mats and temporary walkways, get in touch with a member of our friendly team today.