PPE – or personal protective equipment – has been in the headlines over the last year for obvious reasons. But even before the pandemic hit, PPE was important for a lot of people across a variety of industries, not least in railway construction.

This month, we’ll talk you through the various PPE items essential to railway construction and how they help to keep workers safe during work either on the tracks or at the side of the lines.


Respiratory Protection

In many railway construction projects there will be an element of material shifting. This means there will be microscopic particles released into the air called ballast dust. Ballast dust is one of the biggest dangers involved in railway construction or maintenance since exposure to it can lead to breathing in silica particles. Silica exposure can result in long-term health problems.

PPE is available to help combat this, preventing exposure to the lungs from all sorts of harmful particles. Usually, this is in the form of a mask, often requiring a filter to help ensure clean air supply can be maintained during works.


Eye & Face Protection

When working in any type of construction, there is always a risk posed to the face and, in particular, the eyes. Not only are there small particles which irritate your eyes, but the face being exposed could also be a danger if there are sparks generated. 

There are a number of items you could wear to protect your eyes or your face in general, what you choose will depend on the work being carried out. From tinted safety glasses (tinted to protect against glare) to welders helmets, it’s important to get the right equipment to prevent injury or agitation.

Railway construction worker wearing PPE


Hearing Protection

Not only is working beside train tracks loud because of the passing trains, but there might also be noise from the work itself, machinery or even road traffic nearby. 

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) – a concern on projects such as the HS2 – has led to smarter innovations to protect hearing, but there is still basic hearing protection equipment available if the need should arise. 


Head Protection

An obvious risk in any construction environment is the risk of head injuries. Whether that’s because of low structures presenting a hazard or works taking place overhead where items and tools could fall.

Hard hats and proper head protection is the solution here. Anyone on a construction site of any kind should be wearing a hard hat regardless of their role – even surveyors – since this risk is so prevalent.


Hand & Skin Protection

Working with your hands all day is always going to present a risk. There are plenty of sharp, rough, dirty and heavy materials to work with. Cuts and scrapes are one area of concern, but the irritation of the skin when in contact with certain materials can also pose a risk. Similarly, heat and electricity are also a danger in railway construction.

There are multiple glove types available in terms of PPE for railway construction, whether it’s standard gloves, thermal gloves, welders gauntlets or electricians gauntlets. You should always wear protection for your hands based on the risks presented by the project you’re working on.

You can read more about potential risks to be aware of in our previous post here, all about the dangers of working in railway construction.


Safety Barrier Fencing

Here at Triptex, we know how important safety is on railway construction projects, which is why we provide only high-quality safety barrier fencing systems for the industry. This includes Vortok safety barrier fencing, one of the leading products helping to keep workers safe on projects on or next to railway tracks. 

Contact us today to discuss railway construction safety fencing or hit the quick quote button at the top of this page and fill in the form with your enquiry.