The Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS) took a significant step forward Sept. 1 by expanding the geographic coverage for Amtrak train and engine workers from 10 Amtrak yard facilities to all Amtrak-owned and dispatched territory throughout the system.
The C3RS is a partnership between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Federal Railroad Administration, participating railroad carriers and labor organizations. It is designed to improve railroad safety by collecting and studying reports detailing unsafe conditions and events in the railroad industry. Employees will be able to report safety issues or “close calls” voluntarily and confidentially.
Examples of close calls include varying levels of risk, such as leaving pieces of equipment unsecured, improper blocking, operating trains beyond track authority or violating operating rules.
Informational rollout sessions have been ongoing in the Northeast Corridor. SMART Transportation Division Vice General Chairpersons Gary Hopson (Amtrak GO 663), Charlie Yura (Amtrak GO 769) and Salvador Ruiz (CSX GO 342) attended the opening event in Washington Aug. 6 and were provided the opportunity to address all in attendance. Present and speaking on behalf of Amtrak were President and CEO Joe Boardman and Vice President of Operations D.J. Stadtler. FRA Acting Associate Administrator Bob Lauby was present as FRA Administrator Joe Szabo was unable to attend.
“We are in favor of this reporting system on both sides, labor and management, and it is going to benefit our membership. This marks the beginning of a collaborative initiative that will reduce accidents and injuries in our industry,” Hopson said.
“This sort of program is going to be required by the FRA and all Class I railroads will eventually have to have a program that mimics the program we are following.”
The expansion will also include any tracks or facilities acquired by Amtrak in the future. Coverage will now be available for incidents that result in damage below the FRA monetary reporting threshold and which do not involve an injury, as long as there is compliance with the other provisions of the implementing memorandum of understanding.
Close Call went into effect February 2011. SMART Transportation Division Assistant President John Previsich spearheaded SMART’s involvement in the four C3RS pilot projects – systemwide on Amtrak and New Jersey Transit, at CP’s Portage, Wis., yard and UP’s North Platte, Neb., yard.