FRA launches Confidential Close Call Reporting System

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has launched its Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS) website, which it hopes will improve safety in the railroad industry.

The FRA is launching C3RS in conjunction with rail carriers. The system, sponsored by the FRA's Office of Research and Development, is a resource to confidentially report safety risks in railroad operations and develop solutions to these threats to reduce risk before an accident happens.

"This program has the potential for improving safety in the railroad industry," said BLET National President Don Hahs. "A confidential reporting system for close calls is an idea that the BLET can support.

"Its implementation, and how the program is carried out, has the promise of changing the culture in which we operate. Rather than blaming the worker, this program will allow us to dig deeper in to the problem of rail safety and even make suggestions for corrective action."

According to the C3RS website, a close call is defined as "an opportunity for improving safety practices in a situation with a potential for more serious consequences." Examples of close calls that can be reported include: Any safety concern that could lead to an unsafe event or condition for the carrier; any condition or event potentially endangering carrier employees, the public, equipment, or the environment; or any concerns about your own or someone else's safety at work.

Railroad employees are encouraged to disclose close call information without fear of reprisals by the Carrier or FRA. To receive protection from discipline, employees must report an event 48 hours after it occurs. Reports are sent to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, a third party that collects and stores confidential reports.

The program was started in 2002 when the FRA formed the Close Calls Planning Committee to study the value of a reporting system in the railroad industry. The website was launched in July 2005.

BLET members can go to the following website to learn more about the close call reporting system:


© 2005 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen