Track Visitor Permits (TVP)
The use of TVP’s will not be subject to any additional restrictions beyond those required under the Network Rail TVP Standard NR/L2/OHS/020 and Sentinel Scheme Rules. However, it should be reminded that the use of TVP’s should only be issued within accordance to the TVP standard.
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
- 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.
Competence and Medical Extensions
In order to mitigate the risks of not having sufficient, skilled people to maintain the network safely for vital freight and key worker services, Network Rail has temporarily extended by four months all Sentinel railway competences and medical certificates. The extension period is effective from 23rd March 2020.
For Network Rail staff, HAVS health surveillance dates and Annual Capability Conversation (ACC) requirements have also been extended and Oracle has been updated.
The 4 month extension has been applied to the validity period of all occupational competences and incremental assessment periods.
e.g. A competence previously with a validity period of 24 months, will now have a validity period of 28 months. An initial assessment previously due at 4 months, will now be required by 8 months and so on.
This is in addition to the grace period originally designed into any competence.
Drugs and Alcohol Assessments
In-line with the Sentinel Scheme Rules which state the Sponsor will not need to complete a pre-sponsorship screening if the Individuals record shows that a screening has taken place in the last 3 months, there would normally be a requirement to hold a successful and valid pre-sponsorship Drugs and Alcohol test.
We expect that routine medical activity will be suspended or become difficult for staff to attend in a timely manner, while medical staff are re-deployed in response to the crisis, or are unable to carry out their normal duties.
In order to provide a contingency for this situation and to mitigate individuals not having the authority to work due to expired pre-sponsorship D&A tests, we are introducing a 12 week extension to this requirement.
What this means:
- When an individual changes sponsor, this contingent step will allow workers to continue to access track for the new sponsor.
- This step is in place subject to the worker previously holding a successful D&A test without any existing sanctions, a current valid medical and the relevant occupational competences.
- The new sponsor will be required to book a new D&A test to be successfully completed within 12 weeks from the date of the change of sponsor.
No other additional action is required by the sponsor, other than would normally take place to achieve a change of sponsor activity and records will be updated on Sentinel where no sanctions are applied.
Where an individual does have sanctions due to previous D&A test history, they will not be permitted to change sponsors.
Random D&A test are being paused until 1st June, however RSSB RISQS are, where possible, continuing with the audits remotely. If in doubt the auditor will adopt a reasonable approach:
- If suppliers have more than 75% of the required number – an observation will be made in the audit report, with reference to the current situation.
- If suppliers have more than 50% of the number required, a minor non-compliance will be raised – so will be picked up next year to confirm %
- If suppliers have less than 50% of the number required, a major NCR will be raised, acknowledging the supplier will not be able to close out, so RSSB RISQS will process the audit report and leave non-compliances ‘live’ – follow-up in 12 weeks to see if they have been closed out.
Network Rail Training FAQs – https://www.networkrail-training.co.uk/covid-19-faq/
Track Safety Alliance (TSA) – https://www.tracksafetyalliance.co.uk/
Safety Central – https://safety.networkrail.co.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/