Understanding Personal Track Safety (PTS)
Personal Track Safety (PTS) is a set of safety practices in the UK designed to safeguard railway workers who operate on or near a railway line. As stipulated by the railway safety standards NR/L2/CTM/021, the PTS Certificate is the foundational requirement for Network Rail track access in the UK. Every individual working on or near the line within Network Rail must possess a valid PTS Certificate and a corresponding PTS Medical.
Why is a PTS Medical Essential?
A PTS medical evaluates an individual’s capability to work safely within a track environment. Its primary objective is to ensure that workers do not pose risks to themselves, their colleagues, or the public due to any pre-existing medical conditions. Both the PTS Certificate and the PTS medical aim to uphold the safety of rail workers. The certificate educates them about their environment, helping them avoid potential hazards, while the medical ensures they don’t have conditions or medications that might lead to sudden incapacitation or other health issues. Additionally, every employee must pass a stringent drug and alcohol test aligned with Network Rail standards.
Components of a PTS Medical
Upon attending a PTS medical, candidates are first required to complete a medical questionnaire. Based on the questionnaire’s outcomes, the following assessments are conducted:
- General health evaluation
- Blood glucose test
- Blood pressure and pulse measurement
- Recording of height, weight, and BMI
- Mobility assessment
- Visual acuity and colour vision tests
- Hearing test
Preparation for the Medical
To ensure a smooth process, candidates must bring the following to their appointment:
- A valid Sentinel Card or Sentinel Number
- Photo identification (e.g., passport, driver’s licence, Sentinel Card, or a recent payslip)
- List of any medications (prescription or over-the-counter) taken in the past 14 days
- Glasses, if typically worn
Note: Minor medical issues, such as wearing glasses or being colourblind, may not prevent you from receiving a PTS. However, your Sentinel Card might have an indicator informing the Controller of Site Safety (COSS) about your condition.
Network Rail’s Stance on Drugs & Alcohol
Network Rail enforces a strict zero-tolerance policy towards drugs and alcohol. A positive result on your drug and alcohol test will lead to the withdrawal of your Sentinel Card, barring you from working on any Network Rail infrastructure for five years. This policy is consistent for both new hires and long-term rail industry employees.