London Underground and TfL

27.02.15

LU adopts NR Sentinel ID cards to improve safety and end double-shifting

London Underground (LU) is to adopt the same Sentinel ID card for engineering and maintenance workers in its supply chain already in use by Network Rail. 

In what has been dubbed a “milestone agreement” between the two biggest employers in the industry, it is hoped that the introduction will create a UK standard industry ‘pass’ for personnel working on the railway – removing duplication and improving data sharing. 

It will make it easier to ensure workers do not go straight from a Network Rail job to an LU one, or vice-versa, when they are too tired to safely do so. 

LU’s switch to Sentinel, which replaces the current LUCAS card, will happen in phases, beginning on 1 April 2015. However, existing LUCAS cards will remain valid for access to TfL infrastructure until they expire. 

George McInulty, TfL programme director of infrastructure, said: “We often use the same suppliers as Network Rail so it is sensible and safer to have the same processes and standards wherever we can, so they don’t have to switch between the two. 

“Joining Network Rail in the use of the Sentinel ID card is a fantastic example of where we can come together to make our industry a safer and more joined up place to be.” 

Sentinel ID cards store information about the card-holder electronically and can be accessed and verified in a number of ways, including via a smartphone app. 

Also, on-site, up-to-date information can now be more easily referenced, including the licensing and competency details of contractors. 

In the future, information on working hours will also be available to help avoid what’s known as ‘double-shifting’. 

The head of professional development and training at Network Rail, Guy Wilmshurst-Smith, added: “TfL’s use of Sentinel represents a significant milestone. Not only will we be able to use the same system, but Sentinel will also provide the opportunity to share data on double-shifting, fatigue management and competence restrictions.  

“This is a step-change in safety for the people who work on both rail infrastructures and also provides an opportunity to standardise some of the common competences between Network Rail and TfL.” 

Angi Bell, Network Rail’s Sentinel project manager for Site Access, told RTM recently: “We know that fatigue has the potential to kill. At present we have no way of recording whether a track worker has just come off an eight-hour shift somewhere else or driven for several hours just to get to the site. Sentinel Site Access will capture travel and booked shift time at the time of swiping in and anticipated travel times to a place of rest at the time of swiping out. For the first time we will have simple fatigue information at our fingertips. Controllers of Site Safety, Safe Work Leaders or whoever is responsible for site safety will be made aware of excessive working practices. 

“Track workers will be able to take more responsibility for their own working hours and be furthered empowered through Sentinel to say ‘no’ if asked to undertake extra hours that are putting themselves and others at risk.” 

On 6 January 2014, new Sentinel smartcards completely replaced the previous cards, which are no longer valid for access to Network Rail infrastructure. Andy Littlejohns, Network Rail’s Sentinel Programme Implementation Manager, told us at the time: “Cases of double-shifting, failure to authenticate cards or assessor shortcomings can be identified and acted upon quickly. Breaches of the rules by individuals or companies can be investigated and action taken.” 

Since the enhanced Sentinel card was launched by Network Rail, it has also launched new lone worker solutions – Push4Help and Heartbeat – activated from workers’ mobile devices. 

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com 

Comments

Bongani Ndlovu   06/06/2015 at 06:36

I would like a get a sentenel card but do not hhave a sponsor what can I do

Edward Ndlovu   07/01/2017 at 00:47

I would like to do theverything entry underground courses

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