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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

FRA boots up demonstration Web site to avoid close calls, change railroad/worker safety culture


The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) recently launched the Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS) Web site. Sponsored by the administration’s Office of Research and Development and Class Is, the C3RS program is designed to evaluate the effectiveness of a system for reporting close calls in the railroad industry, develop solutions to reduce accident risks and help improve safety. Currently, the C3RS site — launched in July — is a demonstration project.

Railroad employees are encouraged to report close call information on the site without fear of reprisals by a Class I or the FRA. Reports are sent to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, which collects, stores and analyzes confidential information. A peer review team will monitor reports on corrective actions to measure the system’s impact on safety and identify ways to improve C3RS.

Examples of close calls include any safety concern that could lead to an unsafe event or condition; an event that potentially could endanger rail employees, equipment, the public or environment; or a specific concern about an employee’s or co-worker’s safety. To protect themselves from disciplinary action, employees must report an event to C3RS within 48 hours.

“Its implementation, and how the program is carried out, has the promise of changing the culture in which we operate,” said Don Hahs, national president of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen division of the Teamsters Rail Conference, in a prepared statement. “Rather than blaming the worker, this program will allow us to dig deeper into the problem of rail safety and even make suggestions for corrective action.”

In 2002, the FRA began the C3RS program by forming the Close Calls Planning Committee to study a confidential reporting system.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/16/2005