The Sentinel Personal Track Safety card (PTS card) refers to an online record which contains competency information for individuals working on the UK rail lines. It is a database of personnel working on Network Rail. To obtain a Sentinel card, the individual must attend a training course sponsored by their employer (who is approved) and a course run by a licensed trainer. All Sentinel card holders are registered and managed by primary sponsors. The primary sponsor is responsible for the health and safety of the card holder and ensures that all competencies are up to date. The Sentinel card is proof that the individual has completed the necessary training to work on National Rail controlled infrastructure. Only individuals fully employed or starting off as entry level Personal Track Safety in the rail industry can obtain a sentinel card. Some of the qualifications with the Sentinel Card are below:
|PTS||Personal Track Safety for non-electrified lines||COSS||Controller of site safety|
|PTS AC||Personal Track Safety for AC electrified lines||PC||Protection|
|PTS DC||Personal Track Safety for DC electrified lines||ES||Engineering supervisor|
|LKT||Lookout and site warden||PICOP||Person in charge of possession|
|LKT (P)||Lookout trained to use Pee Wee||SPICOP||Senior PICOP|
|LKT (K)||Lookout trained to use kango warning equip||NP OLE/AC-i||Nominated person|
|AOD: HS||Handsignaller||AP OLE/AC-i||Authorised person|
|AOD:LXA||Level crossing attendant||RIO||Rail Incident officer|
|AOD: PO||Points operator||BSN1||Bridge strike nominee grade 1|
|IWA||Individual working alone||BSN 2||Bridge strike nominee grade 2|
|TRK IND||Track induction||BSE||Bridge strike examining engineer|
With over 67,000 personnel working on the UK rail lines, it is imperative that everybody’s qualifications are up to date. To make things easier, new improved Sentinel smart cards (which work as a smart ID card) have been issued from January. These new smart cards have replaced the old ones. Some changes include allowing for records to be instantly updated and closer monitoring of staff hours. Sentinel cards allow such detail as machinery competencies, drug and alcohol tests and hours worked. The updated information is now stored on the smartcard’s chip and updated through regular use, rather than printed on the card itself. Each Sentinel card has a lifespan of 5 years, and can include any changes to competencies, sponsors and medical record.
The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) have taken over responsibility for regulating health and safety on the railways. Before 2006 it had been regulated by the HSE. This has been one of the changes set out in The Railways Act 2005. The ORR regulates the rail industry’s health and safety performance through UK and European legislative framework. There are many other safety bodies involved with regulating and maintaining safety on the rail lines in the UK. One of these is the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB). The main objective of RSSB is to facilitate and lead in achieving continuous improvements on the health and safety of Britains railways. The Rail Accident Investigation Branch investigates all accidents with a view to improving rail safety. The British Transport Police and the Railway Industry Health and Safety Advisory Committee are also involved in regulations, investigations and improvements on our rail lines.