Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Rail High Vis Clothing Explained

With projects such as Crossrail, HS2, main line electrification, modernisation of the London Underground network and Thameslink. The rise in infrastructure investment over the next three years is significant. This will result in many new businesses taking up contracts in these projects.

So, what to wear? This is one of the most regulated sectors in the UK for PPE.

Rail personnel perform a wide range of essential outdoor work in all weathers. The risks are many and varied. Electrical hazards, visibility issues, oils & chemicals, sparks & flame from cutting & welding, exposure and general construction hazards to name but a few. In many instances the tasks have to be performed within a tight time window so the last thing you want is to be turned off site for non-conforming high vis or stuck in the middle of nowhere in a blizzard and find that your clothing is not as watertight as you were led to believe.

Fit for purpose, comfort and durability are very important. Adopting a multi-layer system should be considered due to our four seasons in one day weather we tend to have. Layers can be added or removed depending on the weather but still be compliant with the governing regulations. Make sure that the layers are designed to fit over each other.

PPE (high vis) workwear has to comply with a series of standards that are specific to the rail industry.

The rail industry’s own standard is GORT 3279. This relates in part to the reflectance / fluorescence of the orange pigment in the clothing.

WARNING – Not all orange high visibility clothing meets this standard. Do not purchase or wear any high visibility clothing that does not conform to this standard. You will be able to check this in three ways.

1. On the printed care label.
2. On the user information sheet that should come with all individual pieces of PPE.
3. By requesting the supplier to forward you a copy of the certificate that relates to the PPE.

In addition to the GORT 3279, all of the relevant EN regulations for high visibility clothing, FR, anti-static, electric arc etc & etc. have to be complied with depending upon the tasks to be performed.

On June 1st 2007, Network Rail also made it compulsory for anyone working on their railway to have adequate breathable clothing. This means that all waterproof / foul weather gear must conform to EN373: 2003 and be class 3 breathable and class 3 waterproof. Again – if not sure then seek proof from your PPE supplier by way of certification copies and check the user information sheet / care label.

During a 6 month review of alternative products within the UK market a leading manufacturer of GORT3279 workwear found that over 85% of products did not stand up to the rigours of wash and high vis tests after wearer trials. Differences between batches of clothing and dye lots were also apparent. Buyers beware. Good quality and durable rail compliant clothing makes sense and is significantly more cost effective.

Granite Workwear Ltd. stocks 3 of the most reliable brands in the business. Pulsarail, Sioen and Cosalt. All three manufacturers invest heavily in product development and have an excellent track record as regards quality and durability.

Sizes ranging from extra small to 7XL, trousers up to a 54” waist and high vis trousers designed for a ladies fit are all stocked in depth. Basically, if we haven't got it in stock them it’s not in the country!

We also print and embroider company logos and names, sometimes with a 24 / 48 hour supply.