Protective equipment, in some form or another, has been used by rail workers since the 19th century. As industry safety standards and practices have been developed, so has the look, quality and range of these products, even when it comes to work wear.
One of the industry’s leading protective clothing manufacturers is PULSAR, which continues to innovate and find new ways to drive out risk.
“Innovation is what drives us as a business. It’s how PULSAR was born,” said Stuart Jukes, managing director of PULSAR. “When we developed the brand in 2006 and positioned ourselves between the budget and high-end parts of the market, the quality of the product in general across the market was going down and down, as was the price, it was a race to the bottom. As a business we have always innovated in whatever sector we’re in.”
PULSAR designs and delivers high performance protective clothing for the highways, utilities, construction and transport and logistics sectors with rail its biggest for high-visibility clothing.
Earlier this year at the Professional Clothing Awards – which recognises the international uniform supply chain – PULSAR cemented its position as one of the leading innovators in protective clothing with two significant wins.
First of all PULSAR was highly commended in the PPE Innovation of the Year category for its waterproof arc flash clothing. Released at the end of 2018, PULSAR believes this product is the lightest electric arc coat that is both breathable and waterproof on the market.
“A lot of fire retardant and electric arc clothing is heavy because it has to withstand quite a lot of damage,” said Stuart, who explained that if a product is heavy and uncomfortable to wear, the user is less likely to use it when they’re unsupervised, putting them at risk.
PULSAR has, therefore, designed its clothing to be comfortable, promoting breathability and reducing the product weight at the same time, he added.
“You’re generally going to be wearing it over the top of one or two other layers of arc clothing,” said Stuart. “So you don’t really need an outer product that’s got a massive arc protection rating because the garments underneath are going to give you that layered system.
“From our point of view, it’s all about ensuring people wear it when they need to and that they’re comfortable and not restricted to a point they can’t do their job.”
Moments after picking up the highly commended prize, PULSAR was also announced as the category winner. ‘PPE Innovation of the Year’ was awarded to PULSAR for its LED harness, a cross-sector product that sits on top of clothing and is ideal for undertaking work in poor visibility conditions.
Stuart said tests on the product, which emits its own light and doesn’t rely on light bouncing off it, have shown the harness is visible from at least 800m away – three times the distance of traditional reflective material.
He added: “It’s a really good product – especially in rail where most of the down time’s at night – to ultimately see where you’re going from section to section. A lot of the main sections of rail work are illuminated quite heavily but then you’ve also got outside of those sections which aren’t illuminated, therefore people have to walk to and from with torches.”
PULSAR products provide vital support for the track workforce, which is why it has once more chosen to sponsor the Rail Civil & Infrastructure Award at the RailStaff Awards.
Last year’s winner was BTP’s Emergency Intervention Unit. The unit deploys specialist blue-light vehicles that allow engineers, driven by and accompanied by BTP officers, to get to incidents using blue lights and sirens which helps to reduce response times and decreases the length of delays to passengers. During 2017-18, the teams responded to 1,429 incidents, which included dealing with trespassers, suicidal interventions and supporting police operations with providing safe access for searches.
Reflecting on the 2018 ceremony, Stuart said: “The evening was fantastic. It was extremely well organised. All of the guests on our table had a really good time. I think the design, layout and the theme was spot on. I think the entertainment afterwards with all the fun of the dodgems was great. It was very well done, and it was all kept to schedule – those types of events can easily run away with you.”
Tickets to this year’s ceremony are still available. To find out more or vote for a colleague in one of 20 categories, head to www.railstaffawards.com