Royal Road Safety Acclamation For GRIPTOP™

A highly innovative range of access covers (manhole covers) which significantly reduces the risk of skidding and skid-related road accidents has been recognised with a prestigious international road safety award.

The GripTop™ range, produced by iron technology leader Saint-Gobain PAM UK, won the Motorcycle Award category at the 2009 Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards.

Daniel Débois, Head of Marketing – Access Covers & Gratings at Saint-Gobain PAM UK, received the award from HRH Prince Michael of Kent, along with Mike Harper of the company’s technology partner Stirling Lloyd, and Mike Brewer and Terry Bullock of Bristol City Council, which has extensively trialled the GripTop™ product in Bristol city centre for three years.

Prince Michael said: “All too often the blame for accidents is put on motorcycle riders – here we see a really clever road engineering invention which will make a real difference to riders’ stability.”

GripTop™ was developed by Saint-Gobain PAM UK as a response to the problem of traditional metal access covers which become worn smooth over the decades and can present a major significant skidding hazard for two-wheeled road users, especially in wet conditions and in locations where sudden or harsh braking may be required.

The product features an aggregate surface bonded to the iron which offers an average skid resistance value (SRV) of 65 to 70, matching the skid resistance required for high risk road sites. It is available in several colours of aggregates to match surrounding road surfaces.

The issue of worn out manhole covers has been one on which motorcycle groups have campaigned for many years and indeed it was the Motorcycle Industry Association which nominated the GripTop™ product for the award.

GripTop™ is now being specified by a growing number of leading local authorities including Bristol City Council, Wigan Borough Council and Leicester City Council.

Daniel Débois commented: “This product was many years in development and testing but it has been extremely well received by local authorities, utilities and road users alike. This award is recognition of the contribution GripTop™ can make to road safety.”

The Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards recognise achievements and innovations which will improve road safety. Each year the most outstanding examples of international road safety initiatives are given public recognition through the scheme.

The need for manhole covers to provide adequate levels of skid resistance in relation to various trafficking situations has also been addressed recently by the Highways Agency which has made specific reference to the minimum acceptable skid resistance level for access covers in sites of potentially high risk, in its latest Design Manual for Roads & Bridges (HA 104/09), published in November.

For further information about GripTop™ visit

Further information about the Awards can be found at


Saint-Gobain PAM UK is a leading supplier of ductile iron pipes, fittings, valves, access covers and gratings as well as being a leading producer of cast iron above and below ground drainage systems. Its markets include water and sewerage, telecommunications, highways, civil engineering, construction and housing.

The company operates from sites in Ilkeston, Melton Mowbray and Telford.

Saint-Gobain PAM UK is part of the international pipelines division, Saint-Gobain Canalisation, which is headquartered in Nancy, France. The pipelines division is part of the multinational Saint-Gobain Group, which is a global leader in its three business divisions – glass, high performance materials and housing products.

Saint-Gobain is pronounced ‘San Go-ban’.

Further information on Saint-Gobain PAM UK can be found at

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  1. robert craven says

    I would want it painted or coloured in some way as to indicate to me that it is a skid resistant manhole cover as opposed to the old very slippy when wet cover.
    That’s important. if it is the SAME COLOUR AS THE ROAD SURFACE I WOULD HAVE TO AVOID IT. LIKE THE PLAGUE. [ concerned motorcyclist]

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