Going ICI Getting PTS
What is the Industry Common Induction?
The Industry Common Induction (ICI) provides staff with a health and safety induction for working in construction sites, rail depots and station maintenance. It has been developed by Network Rail in partnership with the ISLG (Infrastructure Safety Liaison Group) and the RIAG (Rail Infrastructure Assurance Group). It covers the safety procedures and risks that are common across the rail industry, whatever the role and type of site.
The aim is for the ICI to become the entry level competence for working in the rail industry, covering the general induction information that is common to all.It is also to improve safety and productivity on site.
Once you’re confident with the learning material, your Sponsor can apply for you to take the Competence Assessment at an RTAS accredited training centre (such as TES Training). If you pass, the ICI competence will be recorded on your Sentinel record. You can then use your smartcard on site to prove ICI competence. For the majority of people the ICI is done at the end of their PTS Initial course. Once you have ICI it remains valid for five years.
It is a two-step process. Your Sponsor will support you with it.
Step 1: Induction
The induction is delivered as a short e-learning module. Your Sponsor or employer will set you up with a login to the e-learning induction. It takes about an hour to complete and is organised in short sections, each one taking no more than 15-20 minutes. You do not have to study them all in one session and you can review each section as many times as you wish. Before proceeding, you must be confident that you have a good understanding of all the topics. Many screens are interactive and you will need to explore them all to see all the information you need for the assessment.
Step 2: Assessment
When you’re confident you know the topics covered in the induction, speak to your Sponsor to book you a place at a local assessment centre. When you arrive for your appointment at the assessment centre, the assessor will check your identity and explain what you need to do. The assessment is a computer-based test that takes 40 minutes. It is a ‘closed book’ test and you must score at least 80% to pass.
If you pass the assessment, you will gain your ICI competence on your Sentinel card. If you don’t yet have a Sentinel card, your Sponsor will order one for you at this point.
Many new starters do their ICI immediately after their PTS, making getting both time-efficient.
What is a PTS Card?
The PTS Card or Personal Track Safety Card, enables individuals to legally work on or nearby Network Rail train tracks. The card is issued by Network Rail’s chosen identity card scheme called Sentinel and the card is valid for five years. At that point you need to have a new photo taken and a new card is issued. Please remember that the card life of five years is entirely separate from the lifespan of any competencies you gain; the new card will carry over all your current competencies.
The Personal Track Safety Course (PTS) covers a series of safe working practices that protect workers against being hit by trains, electrocutions, trips and falls. Having a PTS card makes you more employable within the railway. If you’re new to Track Safety, it’s best to start with knowing what a PTS card actually is. When people refer to PTS card, they’re really referring to having the PTS competence on their Sentinel card.
Anyone looking to work on or near the railway line requires a Personal Track Safety card which is obtained by completing the Initial Personal Track Safety Course or PTS course from an approved training provider. When you’ve completed your PTS course, your Sentinel profile will be updated and updates uploaded into your Sentinel card to reflect your new competence, allowing you to access work trackside.
Who needs a PTS course?
Any rail staff who wants to work near or on the railway line in the UK will need a PTS card to do so. It is not possible to work trackside without it. Your card will need to be presented to and checked by the Controller of Site Safety (COSS) for you to gain access.
How long does it last for?
Currently, Personal Track Safety competencies are valid for two years, at which point you’ll need to take a PTS Renewal or re-certification course which will take one full day to complete.
Does this cost money?
Yes. If you’ve never taken or completed a PTS course before, or you have but it’s expired, you’ll need to take the PTS Initial – which will consist of e-Learning modules and a practical day being trackside before being certified. The cost of this course is around £200. If you already have taken a PTS course before but it has expired and need a renewal then the cost is around £150. All these prices are for indication only and will vary from provider to provider.
How to apply for a PTS card
A process needs to be followed:
- You need PTS Sponsorship – this can be the rail company you work for, a company you would like to work for or a rail recruitment and training company.
- You’ll need to provide proof of your ID and 2 passport photographs. (Note: you will need to provide proof of ID at several points throught this process.)
- You will need to undergo and pass a medical, drugs and alcohol test before attending a PTS course.
- Undertake and pass the online E-Learning run by Network Rail.
- Attend and pass the Initial Personal Track Safety course. This will be a full day covering a practical and written exam. (Many people choose to gain the additional ‘DCCR’ competence that allows them to work in third-rail areas as well – this requires an additional day.)
- Upon passing both exams, your Sponsor will initiate proceedings to order your Sentinel card which can take up to eleven working days to arrive once the order has been placed.
The PTS Course keeps being mentioned – what is it?
As part of obtaining your Sentinel PTS card, you need to complete the Initial Personal Track Safety Course. The training course takes a day to complete, two if you want the additional DCCR competence to work in third-rail areas. By the end of the training, you should have an understanding of the Sentinel Scheme and how the Track Safety Handbook is relevant to you. The contents of the Initial PTS Course will help you stay safe and maintain a safe working environment on and around the railway.
The units include:
- Introduction to working on the track
- Accessing and Exiting the Track
- Working Safely
- Emergency Procedures
- Safe system of work
- AC Electric Equipment (optional but usual)
- DCCR Electrification Equipment (optional but usual)
Before taking the Initial PTS Course, you are required to complete an e-learning module. This will be sent by your training provider once you have booked your course. The Initial Personal Track Safety Course is assessed by both a practical assessment and a written assessment. You will need to pass both to pass the course.
To be eligible for the Initial PTS Course, you will need to be above the age of 16, have passed a medical test, a drug and alcohol screening, as well as have a sponsor from an approved company. Upon completion of the course your eligibility will be recorded on the Sentinel system. You will need this to apply for your PTS card from Sentinel, which is usually done by your Sponsor.