Temporary road works of any kind are governed by the New Roads and Street Works Act, which was originally issued in 1991, and has subsequently been updated. The code of practice requires that signage is provided to give clear information, and that safety barriers are used to prevent accidents.

The ‘Men at Work’ Q sign (1) warns pedestrians and road users that there may be workers in the road. The triangular shape, with red edge, denotes a warning in the highway code and the illustration shows a person digging with a spade into a pile of road surface material. The sign is made of injection moulded recycled polypropylene (PP) and has a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) retroreflective sticker on the front surface. Retroreflective means that light is reflected back to the source, car headlights for example, rather than bounced in a different direction. The sign, which is in the shape of a Q when it is opened out, is designed for temporary use and is non-flammable, rust resistant, lightweight, easily deployed, and durable being capable of withstanding multiple impacts. In heavy weather, the sign can be weighted down with a sandbag at the base. Despite the plastic sign being nearly twice the price of a traditional metal alternative, it holds no scrap value and is therefore less likely to be stolen.


The utility or manhole barrier (2) acts as a warning sign and obstruction to prevent pedestrians from falling into a hole in the ground created during works on a road or pavement. It is made in the UK at the Melba Swintex factory in Bury and has a unique D-hinge™ and D-clip™ system, which has been designed to connect to existing metal gates and other plastic barriers on the market making it extremely stable when set up. It is made from 100% recyclable high density polyethylene (HDPE) and has deep channels to prevent the collection of rainwater. It is lightweight and compact meaning it can be easily carried by a single person, deployed quickly, and takes up minimal space in vehicles whilst in transit. The D-hinge™ and D-clip™ are all made of polypropylene.