Front line workers across Transport for Wales’ network are being provided with innovative new face coverings with a transparent window so customers can see what they are saying.
The innovative new solution demonstrates TfW’s commitment to providing a more inclusive service, addressing concerns from the charity and community sectors over the barrier to communication that face coverings have.
TfW have ordered 2,000 of the face coverings, which are being distributed to railway station and train crew colleagues.
The solution was developed by Trevor Palmer, a member of Transport for Wales’ Accessibility and Inclusion panel who runs a company in Newport making masks for the NHS, GL 100 Services Limited.
Dr Robert Gravelle, Accessibility and Inclusion Manager for Transport for Wales, said that multiple charities and other community groups had been stressing the importance of visual clues for effective communication.
Dr Gravelle said: “We all know just how important it is to wear a face covering right now, but equally, many of our customers experience hearing loss, use British sign Language and generally rely on visual clues when travelling with us.
“So when Trevor from our Accessibility and Inclusion Panel suggested the windowed face covering, we jumped at the chance to develop it.
“The design won the endorsement of our panel and we are delighted to be rolling it out across our front-line teams.”
The GL 100 windowed face covering has clear advantages and benefits for our staff when interacting with all communities not just the Disabled / Deaf community.
Manufactured in Newport, the mask addresses Equalities Act and HSAWR considerations and complies with ISO9001. Network Rail, the Rail Delivery Group and Office for Road and Rail have also expressed an interest in the product and are purchasing for their staff nationally.
Accessiblity and Inclusion Panel member and mask creator Trevor Palmer said: “Wearing a face covering is an important tool in the fight against COVID-19, but as we all know they are not that easy to communicate through. That’s why I came up and started manufacturing with the windowed face mask which shows a person’s facial expression and aids lip reading.
“So to provide these windowed face masks and help keep safe not only NHS front line staff, but also other front line workers is a genuine success and pleasure.”
Photo credit: Transport for Wales