Program Summary

The Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS) is a partnership between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), in conjunction with participating railroad carriers and labor organizations. It is designed to improve railroad safety by collecting and analyzing reports which describe unsafe conditions or events in the railroad industry. Employees can report safety issues or “close calls” voluntarily and confidentially. By analyzing these events, potential life saving information can be obtained to help prevent more serious incidents in the future.

NASA uses the expertise it has gained from developing and managing the highly successful Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) to administer the C3RS program. NASA has operated ASRS since 1976 and has received over 1,200,000 reports from the aviation community. In that time ASRS has made numerous contributions to aviation safety without violating the confidentiality of a single reporter. NASA is an independent and respected research organization that does not have a regulatory or enforcement interest. It therefore serves as an “honest broker” that is an objective and trustworthy recipient of reports submitted by railroad professionals.

The FRA and NASA collaborate with rail carriers, labor representatives and frontline personnel to implement C3RS at participating sites and all partake in the process. A carrier’s Implementing Memorandum of Understanding (IMOU) may establish a Peer Review Team (PRT). A PRT consists of local representatives from the carrier, unions, and FRA at the carrier site. PRTs promote C3RS at the site, identify why close calls may occur, recommend corrective action, and evaluate the effectiveness of any such action that was implemented. The carrier reviews PRT recommendations and may take corrective action.