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C3RS is an FRA-funded program to improve safety practices. It is based on learning about potentially unsafe conditions, or close call events, that pose the risk of more serious consequences. The C3RS program is designed to help adapt a confidential reporting system to the needs of the U.S. railroad industry and to evaluate its effectiveness in improving safety. In addition to FRA, stakeholders include labor organizations, railroad carriers, and NASA.
The MOU is a template developed by the Close Call Steering Committee that describes the core principles and values necessary to successfully implement a confidential reporting system. It also describes the C3RS program and explains the rights, roles, and responsibilities of project stakeholders. Each demonstration site develops its own Implementing Memorandum of Understanding (IMOU) that is customized to address local concerns and coverage.
C3RS reports are accepted from employees when they are operating within the boundaries of an IMOU, or when operating on another railroad that has an approved C3RS IMOU in effect. With respect to tenant/host C3RS operations, the host railroad's IMOU will govern tenant operations.
The confidential reporting system:
- Provides an environment in which railroad employees can voluntarily and confidentially report close calls without fear of discipline or punishment.
- Accepts close call reports.
- Stores confidential data.
- Analyzes close calls to identify trends, new sources of risk, and corrective actions to address them.
- Distributes reports on trends and other information for use by participating parties.
- Tracks carriers' corrective action reports to measure the system's impact on safety.
- Identifies ways to improve the C3RS system's effectiveness.
Employees who are included in written IMOUs can participate in C3RS. Only eligible employees from carriers participating in the demonstration project will receive protection from discipline. Eligible employees and the conditions under which they receive protection are described in the IMOU for each demonstration site. Anyone submitting a report to NASA will receive confidential treatment.
Currently twelve: Amtrak, Long Island Railroad, MBTA/Keolis, Metra, Metro-North, New Jersey Transit, SEPTA, Strasburg Rail Road., North Shore Group, Denton County Transportation and Belt Railway of Chicago
Data are used to improve safety through:
- Learning why reported unsafe events occurred
- Assessing risks and allocating resources to address them
- Taking corrective action to address factors contributing to unsafe events
- Sharing lessons learned within and among sites about why unsafe events occurred and how corrective action was taken to address them
C3RS provides the following benefits:
- The chance to learn what happened in close call incidents industrywide and to use the information to prevent similar or more serious incidents from recurring
- Improved trust and partnerships among FRA, railroads, and labor unions
- Increased efficiency, cost savings, and return on investment from reduced claims and litigation as well as from corrective actions that target systematic solutions shown through the analysis of close calls
- More time to focus on getting into the field and running a safe operation because of fewer investigations
- Safer communities nationwide
Events are not accepted if they:
- Occur outside boundaries indicated in the IMOU
- Result in intentional damage to operations or equipment or injure other individuals
- Involve the deliberate endangerment of others
- Involve criminal offenses or falsified information
- Involve substance abuse or inappropriate use of controlled substances
- Involve reportable accidents/incidents (49 CFR and 225.1), unless listed by a carrier through an exception in the IMOU.
- Involve hazmat release
- Are real-time observations reported to carrier management or are a part of operations testing
All injuries are excluded from C3RS protections but may be reported to NASA.
No, C3RS reporting does not change existing safety processes.
Information from your close call report will make the work environment safer and healthier for you and your coworkers. The information that you provide will enable your railroad to identify factors that contribute to accidents or injuries and to correct these problems before they result in harm. It will also contribute to improved productivity through reductions in time lost from injuries, decreased damage to railroad property and the environment, and less time required to move customers' goods. Find out how to report a close call.
Peer Review Teams (PRTs) involved with tenant/host operations agree to meet as often as needed and work collaboratively on cases that require corrective action measures by the host railroad. Both PRTs agree to function in the spirit of open dialogue, freely exchanging close call data in the interest of improving railroad safety on their respective railroads.
- NASA will send the report to the employee's home railroad.
- Some reports will require collaboration between the tenant railroad's PRT and the host railroad's PRT.
- Confidentiality must be maintained.