Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is just what it says.
It is the front line defence against injury for any railway worker, and Network Rail is quite rightly very strict in making sure that all personnel on their construction sites are properly kitted out.
It applies to everyone, even to RailStaff reporters.
That’s why on every site, whether you are a Network Rail employee or work for a sub-contractor, the minimum standards have to be met.
Orange high-viz all over, and that orange colour is to a laid down standard.
Boots with protective soles as well as toecaps, hard hats (blue or white), eye protection (to a standard), gloves (to another standard) – the list is quite long and everyone who works on the railways is familiar with it.
Even on non-railway building sites (inside the shopping centre at Birmingham New Street Station for example) the same standards are rigorously enforced.
So it comes as a surprise to learn that one group of construction workers go to work in trainers! Why is this? Do they have bad feet? Or are they just breaking the rules?
The answer is neither. They are the highly skilled men and women who are building the new roof for the Western Concourse at King’s Cross.
An elegant domed structure that will be three times the size of the current concourse, it forms part of the £400 million reconstruction of the famous London terminus.
The roof of the new concourse has a glass and aluminium cladding and heavy boots would damage the surface.
So although they are all roped on for safety, and have to comply with the other PPE requirements, they are ‘excused boots’!