Best Practice Guidance for Drivers’ Uniform and PPE

Best Practice Guidance for Drivers’ Uniform and PPE
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ASLEF recognises that train drivers spend a significant amount of time in the uniform issued by their employer, not only while on duty but also while travelling to and from the workplace. As well as being unpleasant for the wearer, poorly designed, ill-fitting, or generally unsuitable uniform can be uncomfortable to the point where it may become a distraction from, and a barrier to, carrying out some duties correctly. As the end user with relevant experience of carrying out these duties in uniform it is logical that train drivers should have significant input into the design and production of the uniform they are required to wear.

To facilitate the required driver input, all employers should set up a committee to deal with the introduction and design of any new drivers’ uniform and the for the review of existing uniform. The remit of the committee must be specific to drivers uniform but may be a sub-group of a larger committee where one exists. Any such uniform committee should as a minimum include one elected ASLEF machinery representative and one woman driver. The committee will be involved in all uniform development and related projects from the outset.


General Principles

Train driving is a specialist role and consequently requires uniform designed specifically for that role. All uniform issued to drivers must primarily be functional and suitable for all tasks to be carried out. It needs to be made available in a range of options suitable for the job at hand across all seasons and during the broad range of temperatures and weather conditions train drivers experience, not only while in the driving cab, but also when performing other related duties such as changing ends, train preparation and disposal, or walking to or from yards and sidings.

Drivers’ uniform including PPE needs to be issued in gender appropriate fit, cut, and sizing taking into account the requirements of all genders. For example, simply issuing women with men’s unform in smaller sizes is not an acceptable approach. It should also be noted that for a variety of reasons some Drivers may opt for their uniform to be issued in styles not stereotypically associated with the gender they were assigned at birth.

Uniform needs to be produced from good quality, breathable fabrics with a high natural fibre mix and be easy to clean and maintain; machine washable and easy-iron.


Requirements for Uniform

It is vital that staff are happy to wear any uniform issued and while this document is not intended to dictate style it should be noted that classic styling is preferable to something that might be fashionable at the time of designing. Equally excessively bright or overly coloured uniform should be avoided. Ideally uniform should be based on a modular layer-based system where layers can be added to, or removed depending on the season, weather conditions, and time of day.



These should be made available in long and short sleeve options including short sleeved polo shirts available in both men’s and women’s cut.

Extra top:

An additional top layer to be worn between shirt and jacket needs to be provided. This could be in the form of a jumper, sweatshirt, fleece or cardigan.

Jacket and trousers:

These should be manufactured from a reasonably hardwearing fabric. Both should have plenty of pockets of varying depth and sizes some of which should be secure/zip closing. Shorts should be made available in both men’s and women’s fit.


A winter/cold weather coat should be provided which is both warm and waterproof.


This should be offered in both boot and shoe options with two pairs provided in each issue.


Woollen or beanie style hats should be provided for cold season working.


The bag should be sturdy enough to carry the drivers’ belongings and the relevant literature and PPE required during the working day. It should be waterproof, have robust zips (if included) and be made of a relatively lightweight material. It must be compliant with all relevant safety standards, eg tear away straps.



It is recognised that by nature uniform needs to be identifiable as such and will carry company names and logos. Equally branding, text and logos should be kept to a sensible level and size. It should also be recognised that drivers’ uniforms will not require the same level of branding which might be appropriate for other grades such as gate-line, passenger assistance, or ticket office staff.


Additional Considerations

Consideration should be given to the materials used to respect religious and moral views. Where it may not be workable for an employer to cater for every requirement, a facility should be put in place whereby employees can purchase their own items, in line with the company’s safety guidelines and be reimbursed.

This document relates specifically to the requirements for uniform issued to drivers and the principles laid out within it do not necessarily have relevance to uniform designed for other grades.



Last updated: March 2022


ASLEF Health & Safety Department


020 7324 2400