The COSS Initial course is a 7-day course designed to train persons who have been nominated by their line manager/sponsor to enable them to attain the Controller of Site Safety (COSS) competence. The COSS is responsible for setting up a Safe System of Work for a group (two or more people) when working ‘on or near the line’. The last day of the course includes training candidates in OLP and CRP LLT. These modules are optional and, if not required, the course will be reduced to 6 days. A COSS can also carry out the duties of an IWA provided there are no medical restrictions that would prevent this. The course includes the importance of using the correct communication protocols and adopting the appropriate behaviours to be able to carry out this role safely and effectively.

Course Objectives

  • Welcome & Introduction
  • Personal Track Safety recertification
  • Introduction to COSS
  • Safety-Critical Communications
  • Delivering a safety briefing
  • Checking qualifications
  • Roles and responsibilities when creating an SWP
  • Roles and responsibilities when setting up an SSoW
  • Protection and warning arrangements (hierarchy of control)
  • Line blockage procedures and additional protection
  • Working within a possession
  • Managing incidents and the role of the Rail Incident Officer (RIO)
  • Working in sidings and the role of the PICOS
  • Line Clear Verification (LCV)
  • Theory Assessment
  • Practical Assessment
  • Post-course objectives
  • Optional seventh day
  • Overhead Line Permit
  • Conductor Rail Permit

Course Prerequisites

  • Candidates must be a minimum age of 18
  • Candidates must hold a Sentinel Card endorsed with a valid PTS competence; candidates cannot be in learning support.
  • Note: Candidates sitting COSS OLP must hold PTS AC and candidates sitting COSS OLP CRP LLT must hold PTS DCCR
  • Candidates must hold a valid Medical and Drugs and Alcohol certificate issued by Network Rail
  • Candidates must have a good command of the English language
  • Candidates must be primary sponsored

Course Outcome

Successful candidates will be notified to sentinel as being trained and assessed as competent and their sentinel card will be endorsed IWA and (P) COSS. [OLP and CRP LLT if applicable]. The competence will be valid for four months initially under a probationary mentoring period whereby the primary sponsor is responsible for ensuring the candidate is mentored. Candidates need to undertake a workplace assessment within four months to ensure they can safely and effectively undertake the role of the COSS. Once the probationary assessment is completed the COSS competence will be valid for 2 years – with a workplace assessment required within 9-15 months. To recertify, candidates must ensure they complete a minimum of four shifts from their interim assessment and have them recorded within their work experience book.


7 days (6 days if not completing OLP and/or CRP LLT)

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