Duration: 7 Days


The purpose of this competence is to define the competence requirements for candidates who are required to undertake Controller of Site Safety (COSS) activities.

This competence is made up of 3 units


These competence units apply in all circumstances where any individual is required to undertake activities as a COSS on Network Rail managed infrastructure.

The level and extent of responsibility shall include their own safety and that of others who might be affected by their work. The candidate shall be expected to refer to others for authorisation when required, shall be responsible for the implementation of the instructions and shall work within set procedures and specifications. The candidate is responsible for the quality of their completed work.

Competence units

This competence is made of 3 units.

  • Unit 1: Assess the Requirements for a Safe System of work.
  • Unit 2: Set up and withdraw a Safe System of work
  • Unit 3: Confirm isolation arrangements for the protection

Unit 1: Assess the requirements for a safe system of work.

This competence unit comprises two elements

  • Element 1: Plan, prepare and review the safe system of work
  • Element 2: Identify the protection arrangements required for a safe system of work

The first element is concerned with the planning, preparation and organisation of a safe system of work by the COSS. The second element is concerned with the setting up, maintaining and withdrawal of the safe system of work in a live environment.

Unit 2: Set up and withdraw a Safe System of work

This competence unit comprises four elements.

  • Element 1: Brief personnel on the safe system of work
  • Element 2: Implement protection arrangements
  • Element 3: Maintain safe systems of work
  • Element 4: Withdraw protection arrangements

The first element is concerned with the briefing of personnel on the safe system of work, highlighting the main hazards associated with the site of work.

The second element deals with the setting up of the protection arrangements.

The third element is concerned with the continued safety of all personnel and the operational railway, when carrying out the activities and where necessary, adapting the arrangements to meet changing requirements.

The fourth and final element of this unit deals with the withdrawal of protection whilst maintaining the safety of all personnel (including those responsible for the physical withdrawal of protection arrangements).

Unit 3: Confirm isolation arrangements for the protection

This competence unit comprises of one element:

  • Element 1: Confirm isolation arrangements for the Protection

This unit covers the actions undertaken by the Controller of Site Safety (COSS) when dealing with isolation which are being physically set up by others.

The responsibility of the COSS is not to set up the isolation themselves (unless qualified to do so), but to confirm that it has happened and be aware of the implications for safe systems of working and the safety of the operational railway.

Competence in this unit is not mandatory for all COSSs. It is only required when a COSS needs confirm the isolation of an electrified line (either a.c or d.c) to protect people undertaking activities on or near electrified lines.

Competence certification of the COSS shall be endorsed with the following

  • OLP for Overhead Line isolation Permit
  • CRP for Conductor Rail isolation Permit

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