One common activity contributing to manual handling injuries is the removal and replacement of heavy concrete and metal manhole and trench covers. Their position and weight makes them an ideal culprit for back and finger injuries which can be compounded if the covers corrode or crumble. Composites effectively shed weight whilst retaining mechanical properties, meaning that a composite cover with the same load rating as a concrete or metal cover will weigh far less. Fibrelite’s covers weigh approximately one-third of traditional alternatives. Fibrelite claims to be the only company to successfully engineer and manufacture composite covers with load ratings over 40 tonnes (D400), and in 2016 the company extended its range up to 90 tonne (F900) load ratings for airports and ports.
“One or two people can move any Fibrelite cover quickly and easily without risk of back injury or crushed fingers, at any load rating,” asserts David Holmes, Fibrelite’s Technical Director.
Fibrelite also identified stooping as an additional cause of injury and created an ergonomically designed lifting handle. This is designed to allow users to safely remove and replace the covers keeping the load close to the waist, avoiding stooping or bending their backs.
Fibrelite also considered the safety of people and vehicles passing over the covers. Unlike metal and concrete covers that can become hazardous when wet or worn, Fibrelite covers have been engineered to provide a safe walking and driving surface, tested to be equivalent to modern high-grade road surfaces.
According to Ian Thompson Fibrelite’s Managing Director, there has been a dramatic growth in the number of industries reducing their health and safety risks by using composites, both at new build facilities where Fibrelite covers are specified from the outset, and at existing facilities modernising their previously installed covers.