Indian Railways Production Units, Workshops and field units have started manufacturing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Coveralls for medical and health-care personnel who get directly exposed to the COVID-19 disease when working amongst infected patients.
Indian Railways will produce over 30,000 such coveralls in April 2020 and plan to manufacture 1,00,000 of the same in May 2020. The prototype coveralls have already cleared the prescribed tests with the highest grades at the authorised DRDO laboratory at Gwalior.
Indian Railways’ Doctors, Medical Professionals, other health workers and care-givers are working tirelessly fighting the COVID-19 disease. All these personnel are directly exposed to the COVID-19 disease when working amongst infected patients. As a first line of defence against contracting the novel Coronavirus, they need to be provided with a special kind of impervious coverall that acts as a barrier to the virus as well as other disease carrying fluids. Since each such coverall can only be used once they are required in very large numbers. As the incidence of COVID-19 disease increases, even though in a relatively controlled manner, the requirement of PPE coveralls is also multiplying.
In order to fill the gap in availability and requirements of PPEs, Jagadhari Workshop of Northern Railway had taken the initiative to design and manufacture a prototype PPE coverall. The prototype coverall was tested by Defence Research Development Establishment Laboratory of DRDO at Gwalior, authorised for conducting such tests. The coverall samples passed all the tests conducted by DRDE with the highest grades.
Taking this initiative forward, Indian Railways has been able to procure and distribute to its workshops and other units sufficient raw material for manufacturing more than 30,000 PPE coveralls in the current month (April 2020).
Production has been started and Indian Railway’s own doctors, the end users of these coveralls, have also been involved in trying out these coveralls as their production is ramped up. To meet the growing requirement, Indian Railways have set the target of manufacturing another 1,00,000 PPE coveralls in the month of May, 2020, and sourcing of appropriate raw material has been started.
All this has been done despite there being a major global shortage of appropriate raw material as well as machinery for manufacturing PPE coveralls. Behind this endeavour is the time-tested capability of Indian Railway’s workshops and Production Units of manufacturing and maintaining some of the safest railway rolling stock in the world. The same capabilities, expertise, protocols and procedures usually followed for design, manufacturing and use of rolling stock, have been utilised for enabling field units and workshops to start manufacturing high quality PPE coveralls so rapidly.
It is worthwhile to note that the same dedication has already seen Indian Railways converting more than 5000 of its passenger coaches into mobile quarantine/isolation facilities, in a very short period.