Safety and security

Safety and security are the utmost priorities of Getlink and its subsidiaries, in particular for Eurotunnel, Europorte and ElecLink.

Getlink - Safety and security

Safety, a permanent imperative

Inscribe a tthe very heart of railway culture, the safety of customers, employees, sub-contractors and all other stakeholders is an intangible principle which guides all of Getlink’s actions. Safety constitutes a principal requirement which has been taken into account since the Channel Tunnel was designed to make it one of the safest and most efficient transport infrastructures in the world.

The Intergovernmental Commission (IGC) created by the Treaty of Canterbury on 14 March 1986, represents the 2 States (France and the UK) awarding the Concession for the cross-Channel Fixed Link until 2086. The IGC aims to facilitate Channel Tunnel operations and, in collaboration with the Safety Authority made up of independent experts, adopt all regulation required for the Concession to run smoothly, particularly in terms of safety.

Safe stations: to protect the infrastructure and guarantee its availability

The four SAFE fire-fighting Stations, conceived by Eurotunnel’s experts and deployed in 2011, contributes to guarantee maximum system availability in any eventuality and, above all, enhances the long-term sustainability of the cross-Channel Fixed Link.

Getlink - safe station - Safety & securityIn the event of a fire occurring on board a Truck Shuttle, once all risks have been eliminated for the passengers, the driver can either drive the train to a SAFE station to extinguish the fire, or drive it out of the Tunnel, outside where firefighting tracks are located near the two portal entrances. The Safe stations are equipped with an innovative system of water projection which comes into play, spraying a pressurised water mist designed to immediately extinguish the fire. This patented system, unique in the world, has further increased the safety level of the Tunnel, which was already exceptional at its inception.

Workplace safety for employees and subcontractors: a major challenge

From 2018, Getlink and its subsidiaries et ses filiales have set up a continuous improvement approach based on the difinition of clear objectives and specific actions to achieve them as well as the assessment of relevant indicators.

Getlink is working on a big data project to help prevent work-related accidents, based on the analysis of big data items over the past six years, from which algorithms are used to identify combinations of factors that may lead to work-related accidents and to take effective preventive actions.

Frequency rate of lost-time work-related accidents:

The frequency rate of lost-time work-related accidents was 5 in 2020, slightly up compared to 2019. These accidents that occurred during travel or handling have been analysed and corrective actions taken. The Group is maintaining its efforts in the area of safety, which remains a top priority: continuous availability of the first-line management, strong commitment from the Executive Committee, strengthening of safety teams within the operational departments and an awareness campaign towards staff.

Severity rate of work-related accidents:

The annual "Safety Week" at Europorte and the continuation of the safety awareness campaign at Eurotunnel have also contributed to inspire safety culture through video spots featuring the operational teams. All of these actions have also contributed to stabilise the severity rate of work-related accidents at 0.3 in 2020.

It also enables testing of the emergency services response and their effective coordination in the event of an accident inside the Channel Tunnel. Eurotunnel and the Public Authorities organise each year such full-scale exercise called BINAT. The latest exercise, which took place in January 2020, was the 30th since the end of the construction of the Tunnel and the 24th since the opening of the services in 1994.

A comprehensive security plan

Security means ensuring the safety of people ( customers, employees of Eurotunnel and subcontractors) and goods, protecting the integrity of facilities and enabling authorities to carry out effective border controls.

The security of such a strategic infrastructure as the Channel Tunnel, which provides a vital link between the United Kingdom and the Continent, is a crucial priority for the public authorities in both France and the UK, as well as for Eurotunnel.

The Group was entrusted by the Treaty of Canterbury, signed on 12 February 1986 to be the Concessionaire for the cross-Channel Fixed Link. This founding document set out the respective responsibilities of the States and the Concessionaire regarding security. Eurotunnel, which has no police powers or any authority for border control, is required to provide the governments with the means to exercise their sovereign responsibilities.

Security plan

Security planDuring the 2015 migrant crisis in Coquelles (France), seamless cooperation with both governments was reflected in the implementation of a multi-year action plan by Getlink which put a stop to the intrusion attempts on the Eurotunnel site and to the disruption to operations.

Getlink - secure area of the Eurotunnel terminal
650 hectares, the size of the secure area of the Eurotunnel terminal

surrounded by 30 km of 4 metre high security fencing and patrolled by 300 security agents, dog handlers and squadron of the gendarmerie.

Getlink - Camera linked to the Security COntrole Centre
600 video cameras

of all types operating day and night, linked to the new Security Control Centre (PCS) via a IT hypervisor.

Getlink - Security Control Centre
A new Security Control Centre

capable of managing 1,500 alarms with a 21m2 video wall and regrouping 24/7 French and UK authorities in one single location.

Getlink - security - Scan for commercial vans
Two additional scans for commercial vans

less than 3.5 tonnes installed in Folkestone and Coquelles enabling VP vans to travel using the Passenger Shuttles service.

Getlink - Wave scanner
A passive millimetre wave scanner (PMMW),

a heartbeat detection system, canine inspection teams and various controls complete the broad security plan for trucks.

As for the UK side, since the introduction of the British law requiring cross-Channel operators (ports and airports) to check the identity of people leaving the country, Eurotunnel implemented, in close relations with the British authorities, an Advance Passenger information system (API): Le Shuttle customers provide the required identity information online when making a booking.