Concern expressed over employees not being provided with seasonal PPE during summer and winter

Concern

A reporter has raised a concern over employee access to seasonal Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). According to the reporter, employees are not being provided with seasonal PPE, such as lightweight t-shirts in the summer, and wet weather all-in-ones for the winter.

The reporter is concerned that this does not comply with legal regulations. Employees are exposed to all weather elements during work and could potentially develop health issues if they do not have access to appropriate PPE. Being distracted or feeling unwell in these circumstances could potentially lead to operational incidents. The reporter advises this is a companywide issue affecting agency and contracted staff members.

Therefore, the reporter asks if the contractor could:

  • Ensure that all employees have access to appropriate seasonal PPE?

Company’s response

We would like to thank the reporter for raising their concerns. We have conducted visual checks on the work wear issued to staff from our depots and have found the following:

  1. The work wear jackets and trousers held at our depots meet the minimum standard for foul weather clothing as stated in Section 4.2 of the Network Rail Standard Personal Protective Equipment and work wear NR/L2/OHS/021 dated June 2009, in respect to BS EN 343: 2003 Class 3 for water vapour resistance and water penetration.
  2. All Rail PPE clothing and work wear issued by depots display the company logo on the back, in accordance with Section 4.1.3 of NR Standard NR/L2/OHS/021.
  3. Technical information on our work wear has been requested from the supplier and is expected shortly.
  4. Anecdotal evidence received from staff suggests that the quality of the work wear is poor and does not keep the wearer dry during prolonged rain.
  5. We have been advised that higher quality Goretex work wear is due to be issued to more exposed personnel such as Linesmen and Permanent Way staff.

Actions taken as a result of this report:

The following actions will be implemented:

  1. Conduct an employee survey of work wear performance across work sites and possessions.
  2. Conduct a review of the PPE and work wear supplied by the company, including the process for issuing and returning of branded work wear to employees and agency staff.
  3. The company aims to adopt a PPE policy defining a minimum standard for quality across the business by the end of 2019.