The challenges of protecting vulnerable surfaces such as grass at outdoor event and construction sites. The use of specialised mats for walkways and roadways.

One of the abiding images of wet summers is of people slipping and sliding on wet ground at the multitude of music festivals and other outdoor events held at this time of year. The ‘Glastonbury mud’ has become legendary and makes for graphic television viewing when heavy rain hits the hugely popular Somerset music festival.

Outdoor Dangers

While there is a love of outdoor events in the UK, unfortunately the weather isn’t always conducive to scores of people and possibly vehicles on vulnerable grass. Damp surfaces can soon become slippery, churned up, uncomfortable, messy and dangerous – and even dry grass can become a hazard as it becomes worn and possibly rutted through heavy use.

Setting up an Event

It’s not just people attending events that can cause wear on softer surfaces such as grass. What about when setting a venue up? Heavy lorries and other equipment such as cranes are often in evidence when an event is being prepared for such as building the stage for a music festival, or erecting tents and marquees for a country fair or major sporting event.

Heavy lorries can soon cause grass to wear, and wet conditions and heavy truck wheels can soon turn soft ground into a messy quagmire long before the first member of the public sets foot on it.

Construction Sites

The movement of lorries and heavy construction equipment on construction sites can soon churn up soft ground and make easy movement on and off the site very difficult and extremely hazardous. A lorry or piece of heavy plant getting stuck can soon delay work on a site so preventative measures need to be taken.

The Solution

At a basic level routing vehicular and foot traffic round a site and keeping it to specific paths and walkways is one way to keep a site or venue as clear as possible. In areas where there are no hard surfaces this clearly won’t be effective, so a way of protecting the vulnerable ‘soft surfaces’ is required.

Temporary Paths and Roadways

It’s possible to use temporary surfaces in the form of roadways and paths to protect vulnerable surfaces such as grass and enable people and traffic to progress around a site safely and comfortably.

Event organisers can hire what are effectively heavy duty mats that can be laid over surfaces to provide protection and a convenient and safe way to pass over them. A good example is Tufftrak – a heavy duty mat used for temporary road ways and work areas for heavy plant and machinery.

What are they?

Made of a high density polyethylene (HDPE), each mat is a durable one-piece structure providing a non-slip and non-conductive surface. They offer several benefits:

Easy to Install

they can be easily transported to the site, put in place and swiftly attached to each other with simple yet effective fasteners for rigidity.

Different Types

they are available in different guises depending on their use; for example, a heavier duty surface can be specified for use with heavy machinery outdoors while a less pronounced surface is available for indoor use – such as inside a marquee.

Flexible Use

mats such as the Tufftrak can be used on uneven surfaces thanks to specially designed ‘flexible’ fasteners that allow for a degree of movement without the mats slipping.

Easy to Clean

they often just require a hose down or maybe a pressure jet wash.

Heavy Duty

the mats can cope with most machine types and tyres except for ‘aggressive tracked’ machinery such as excavators with heavy steel tracks. A speed limit of around five miles per hour on ‘mat roadways’ is recommended.

For your non-slip outdoor event or construction site the portable mat could be the answer.

Henry Savage is the Director of All Weather Access, a ground protection and Trakmat hire company. Henry is an expert in ground protection and is skilled at matching the best ground protection solutions to his customers’ requirements