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Electrical Substation, Sheffield, UK

Sheffield substation upgrades to made-to-measure Fibrelite trench covers to alleviate H&S risks

Project overview

Failing concrete trench access covers at an electrical substation in Sheffield were causing severe operating difficulties for onsite staff. Fibrelite and IJM supplied a lightweight bespoke GRP replacement, alleviating operating difficulties.


The previous covering arrangement which had been in place on site was a deteriorating, outdated one composed largely of concrete. The key issues with the previously installed covers were:

  • Weight – the concrete access covers were extremely heavy to lift, posing significant health and safety risks to onsite staff
  • Deterioration – covers were chipped on the edges, a number of small cracks had formed during service, and they no longer performed well under heavy loads (as exemplified by hazard cones pictured below)
Previously installed heavy concrete covers posed significant health and safety risks


IJM, the company in charge of the project, has worked with Fibrelite on a large number of similar previous projects over many years and so approached Fibrelite for a solution for this facility.

Fibrelite designed and engineered a set of bespoke GRP composite trench covers and aluminium frames. Key features for this project:

  • Lightweight and strong: the new D400 load rated covers can be safely and quickly removed and replaced manually by two people using Fibrelite’s FL7 lifting handles
  • Custom sizing – Fibrelite’s adjustable tooling allows them to provide bespoke covers and frames, meaning minimum upheaval incurred to site
  • Secure bolt-down design – preventing unauthorised access
  • Chemically inert – all Fibrelite covers are made from a highly-engineered composite material that will last for years to come with minimal maintenance
The design and delivery details were agreed a few months in advance, enabling a three-week turnaround from order to delivery.
Fibrelite covers and frames were custom made to fit existing apertures, minimising installation time / upheaval to site.


Thanks to Fibrelite, the customer now reaps the benefits of a modern, GRP composite trench covering solution including:

  • Easy safe access to trench services using the ergonomically designed Fibrelite FL7 lifting handles
  • Health and safety risks alleviated.
Fibrelite’s chemically inert covers provide a long-term maintenance-free solution
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David Crowther

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