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Ever since the world’s first railway opened up between Stockton and Darlington in 1825, the train has been an integral part of modern society. Carrying large numbers of people and goods over large distances at very high speeds, it’s little wonder that the railways require a huge amount of maintenance. As you might expect, in order to sustain this level of weight, speed and use, the materials used in railway engineering are some of the toughest in the world. It also means that the people who carry out the work, and the railway clothing they wear need to be equally as durable.                                                                                                                     

Working on the railroads is a notoriously hard and tough job. Both in the UK and especially the US, there is a certain romanticism about the people who carry out this work. It’s hard, dangerous and relentless but it’s essential for keeping the country moving.


What it also means is that there are certain items of personal protective equipment (PPE) that are required to keep people who do these tough jobs safe.


The Role of Railway Workwear

The most important aspect of railway workwear is visibility. Railway lines are very dangerous places, as we all remember from school and various TV advertisements from our youth. That means anyone working in that environment needs to be seen as easily as possible. Hi-Vis jackets, vests, boiler suits and t-shirts are all essential for working on the railways. This is usually orange in colour, although different task-specific workers may wear different colours.


As many of the problems that occur with railways are due to bad weather, it means that workers are often out on the lines in very bad conditions. Excessive cold, wind and rain can cause problems with tracks that need emergency repair. That means that warm and waterproof workwear needs to be provided to protect against these extreme conditions. Jackets and thermal gear also need to be Hi-Vis for safety purposes.


Put the Boot In

As we’ve mentioned, the materials used around railways are extremely tough and durable. That means that solid boots and gloves are also essential for those working on the lines. Much of the surface around the tracks is uneven and slippery, so good grip is also essential.

Hard hats are another item of rail safety gear that is required at all times. Like all hard hats, there will be an expiry date printed somewhere which tells the user when it is time to replace it. Hats protect against falling objects, collisions and falls, often performing a life-saving duty.

The men and women who keep our railways working do a tough and difficult job, often in very arduous conditions. It is very important that they are as safe as possible when doing this work, so the necessary PPE is essential. As in all jobs where this is required in the UK, the law requires employers to provide the equipment (in good working condition) and training so that employees are as safe as possible while working.


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