Network Rail
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2020 14 Apr

Swipe for your safety with Sentinel

Posted in General


The only way to ensure compliance with the Lifesaving Rules is to swipe an individual’s Sentinel card before the start of a shift. This will check they have the required Authority to Work and the necessary competence and medical level to undertake the work they are scheduled to do.

Network Rail has already taken measures to extend Sentinel competences and is conscious that there will be a rise in the number of employees needed to maintain the railway for key workers and vital freight users.

You will at times work with different people from your usual team to cover illness and absence. There is a possibility that you could be allocated to critical areas to provide support and this will require flexibility.


To ensure safety while working trackside the Sentinel App can be used to check all Cardholders’ Authority to Work. Checking workers cards at the start of every shift is even more important in the current situation.  Some workers have raised concerns that it is difficult to swipe their cards while maintaining social distancing and the following guidelines have been produced to help keep you safe.

Network Rail Guidelines

These are:

  • Wash your hands as often as you can in hot water with plenty of soap before, during and after shifts
  • Get a soapy cloth and lightly wash your mobile this will not damage the phone but remove the case and battery first
  • Keep Sentinel cards clean too
  • Place your Sentinel card on a flat surface and stand two metres (6ft) away for the Controller of Site Safety (COSS) to swipe you in
  • Do not share mobile devices if possible but if you must do so, please clean after use
  • Keep personal contact to a minimum


  • Employees should work at least two metres (6ft) apart.
  • When not possible or safe to do so – working outdoors trackside only – good practice must be followed to lessen risk
  • For employees working track side, the spread of the virus can be reduced outside using safety gloves and safety glasses.
  • If you need to cough and sneeze, this should be into a tissue and then safely binned. If you do not have tissues, cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow
  • Reduce shared transport and use own vehicle
  • Home start for colleagues, travel direct from home to work site, rather than depot to work site
  • Keep apart at sign in points and mess rooms
  • Changing or staggering of shift times
  • Colleagues are encouraged to bring prepared food to work

Please click Guidelines to read in full on Safety Central for Network Rail and Public Health England (PHE) advice.

Sentinel App information

You can download the Sentinel App for free from Google Play or the Apple App Store. The Sentinel App User Guide can be viewed or downloaded on the Sentinel website.

If you experience any issues with the Sentinel App or require support, please contact the 24/7 Sentinel Helpdesk via or on 0330 7262 222.