Our ref: HSR

Head Office Circular: NP/101/24

9th April 2024

To: The Secretary




Dear Colleague



On the 8th April 202 Network Rail confirmed in safety alert NRL24-03 - Welding Garments – that, following examination of some Network Rail supplied welding PPE overalls, it was found they did not meet the approved specifications for Network Rail staff conducting thermic and arc welding activities. The investigations identified that incorrect PPE for welding overalls had been mistakenly ordered through the Punchout system and staff had received ARC Flash Protective Garments which were not welding specific. These garments do not provide the full levels of protection for all those undertaking welding activities. Investigations also found non-compliant PPE had been purchased outside of the Company Governance process; this is not the correct procurement process and has resulted in substandard PPE garments being provided. 

Your Lead Safety Representative, Brother Chris Adair, raised the issue for no approved welding overalls on the Network Rail PPE system since May 2023 at the National Safety Council 13thMarch 2024. The response from the national TA team was that the approved welding overalls would be on the DDC ordering system the following week. This has not occurred; hence, in the interim, your union advises as follows:  

1.         Network Rail welders who have got PPE welding overalls that have not been approved by the PPE Governance panel may not meet all the specifications required and could cause harm to the wearer; we encourage them to hand back their overalls and invoke the Work Safe Procedure if pressured to wear them

2.         If you have been given the ARC flash overalls by mistake, hand them back to your local welding manager and, if pressured to wear them, invoke the Work Safe Procedure 

3.         If your existing welding overalls are worn out, or not fit for purpose, but you are unable to get a new replacement on the DCC ordering system, then invoke the Work Safe Procedure. 

Employers must protect workers from health and safety risks. This means they must provide the correct PPE free of charge if a risk assessment shows it is needed.

Please bring this circular to the attention of all relevant members.


Yours sincerely




Michael Lynch

General Secretary