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11/17/2009


Rail News: Passenger Rail
NJ Transit begins close-call reporting pilot program



New Jersey Transit recently launched a confidential close-call reporting system pilot project throughout its system, in cooperation with the United Transportation Union (UTU), American Train Dispatchers Association, and Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen. The pilot does not apply to NJ Transit operations over Amtrak and Conrail lines.

Sponsored by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the program enables an employee to confidentially report safety concerns or violations of operating rules, while receiving immunity from sanction by the employer and FRA.

Through the program, information on unsafe events that would otherwise be unreported or underreported can be studied by an on-site peer review team of labor, management and FRA representatives. The data then can be used to recommend corrective action, which might include new or improved training methods, or changes in the physical plant, existing federal safety laws or regulations, or carrier operating rules.

A close call is defined as “a situation in which an ongoing sequence of events was stopped from developing further, preventing the occurrence of potentially serious safety-related consequences,” according to the FRA.

UTU is participating in similar close-call pilot projects with Union Pacific Railroad in North Platte, Neb., and Canadian Pacific in Portage, Wis.

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