Steel road plates are a vital ground covering where construction or maintenance work requires trenches to be dug – especially if the site is going to be left overnight.

Whatever the weather may bring during the winter months, some work is essential and cannot be delayed, and this raises the problem of trenches being exposed to the elements.

Steel road plates provide an instant cover to prevent the worst of the rain – or even snow – from collecting in the bottom of the trench, where utility supplies may have been left exposed.

They are heavier than the plastic trench covers you sometimes see used, and so much less likely to be dislodged by mistake or malicious act when left unattended.

And at a time of year when the shorter hours of daylight can mean work is more likely to be spread over a number of days, steel road plates can keep a road or pavement functioning with only a slight bump or ramp to negotiate.

This keeps the route passable for pedestrians, cyclists, wheelchairs and motor vehicles alike, as well as elderly people’s wheeled shopping bags, travellers’ suitcases and families’ pushchairs and buggies.

The strength of steel road plates means they can be much more slimline than their plastic equivalents, which often effectively form a sizeable ‘speed bump’ on the path or road that can be hard to get over in a wheelchair.

Most importantly, covering the trench securely means there is less chance of anyone falling in during a dark night, especially if the fence surrounding the site gets dislodged from its intended position or the route proves too tempting as a potential shortcut.

And when morning comes, the plates can easily be slid to the side or lifted well clear of the trench, exposing a relatively dry workspace to allow activity to resume without delay or added expense.