Incompatible high vis vests – another example of rail dysfunction

As if a mess of different rail gauges and incompatible train radio systems across Australia weren’t enough, there is yet another incompatibility – different standards for high visibility vests!

'Vic Spec Rail Vest' required

I’m not joking – head off to a workwear supplier, and they’ll list ‘Victoria’ and ‘NSW’ specification high visibility vests.

The NSW version has the reflective strips forming an ‘X’ across the back.

Station staff indicate 'all clear' to the guard with a white flag

While the Victorian one doesn’t.

Metro staff at work repairing next train displays at North Melbourne station

The Victorian version apparently conforms to Australian Standard AS4602.1 Figure 2(c).

Australian Standard AS4602.1 Figure 2(c)

As detailed in Metro Trains Melbourne’s Management of Personal Protective Equipment Procedure.

All high visibility garments must be fitted with retro reflective strips. The strips must;

  • Meet either requirements of Class R material in Australian Standard AS/NZS1906.4;
  • Positioned on the garment in accordance with AS4602.1 (Refer Figure 1 below);
  • Are at least 50mm wide;
  • Are silver in color.
  • Applied and remain in place and serviceable for the life of the garment under normal use and laundering.

Positioning of the strips on garments must be in accordance with Australian Standard AS4602.1 Figure 2(c), as follows:

  • a. Two horizontal hoops of retro reflective material must encircle the waist;
  • b. Strips of retro reflective material must cover each shoulder.

While the Sydney Trains Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) standards details their style.

Positioning of the strips on garments must be in accordance with AS4602.1, as follows:

  • i) One horizontal hoop of retro reflective material must encircle the waist;
  • ii) A second horizontal strip must be at the back, below the waist, so as the strip is still visible when the wearer is bending forward or in a stooped position. The minimum gap between the horizontal strips should be 50mm;
  • iii) Two vertical 50mm strips of retro reflective material must join the upper horizontal hoop, straight over each shoulder, and forming an “X” on the back

A real dogs breakfast, isn’t it!

The signaller's dog at Castlemaine also has a hi-vis vest

This being a canine working on a *Victorian* railway.

A footnote on Australian Standards

Unfortunately I can’t actually check Australian Standard AS4602.1 “High visibility safety garments” for myself, because the publisher SAI Global is a money hungry grub who refuses to make them available to the public, despite their status as an essential service in governing consumer safety.

Meanwhile in Europe…

It seems that the European Union also has it’s own high visibility vest standardisation issues – some countries use yellow, others orange.

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8 Responses to “Incompatible high vis vests – another example of rail dysfunction”

  1. Probably Wrong says:

    A note on the X on the back of the NSW vest: In victoria the X is still used but it is used to denote shunters exclusively. If you are wearing an X pattern, you are a shunter. Any other use of the X is unacceptable. I can’t find a product example for this but I would expect V/Line and MTM to control the supply of otherwise inappropriate clothing. You can also see it on high vis drivers’ backpacks. It makes me wonder if there’s a problem if non-shunters use those backpacks in the wild..

  2. albert3801 says:

    You can get the AS/NZS 4602.1 for free from New Zealand. It’s a joint standard which should be identical.

  3. Sandy says:

    Six small countries flying in close formation……sometimes. When it comes to getting anything of Federal importance done in the country, National unity is an oxymoron. Last time I looked, it is 2023 not 1923

  4. Jan says:

    Re Europe: In Germany the regular colour on the railways is orange, but lookouts usually wear yellow.

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