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.
Potential life-saving information can be obtained to help prevent more serious incidents in the future.
NASA uses the expertise it has gained from managing the highly successful Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS). NASA has operated ASRS since 1976 and has received over 1.8 million reports from the aviation community. Learn more about ASRS.
Modeled after ASRS, NASA developed and launched C3RS in 2011. Since then, NASA has received over 25,000 C3RS reports. ASRS and C3RS have made numerous contributions to safety without violating reporter confidentiality.
NASA is an independent and respected research organization that does not have a regulatory or enforcement interest. It therefore serves as an independent "honest broker" that is an objective and trustworthy recipient of reports submitted by railroad professionals.
NASA C3RS welcomes safety incident reports from frontline personnel who are involved in a safety incident or are aware of a safety concern in the railroad industry. Some examples by craft include: Transportation (e.g., Conductors, Engineers, Dispatchers), Mechanical (e.g., Carmen, Machinists) and Engineering (e.g., Signal Maintainers) as well as Supervisors.
The identity of all reporters who submit a report to NASA C3RS will remain confidential. Employees and managers whose carrier and craft are covered by a written Implementing Memorandum of Understanding (IMOU) should review their IMOU to determine if they are eligible to receive a waiver from discipline.
The FRA and participating railroad carriers offer people who report to NASA C3RS further incentives to report. Through agreements between the FRA, carriers, and labor organizations, as outlined in an Implementing Memorandum of Understanding (IMOU), people who report are provided waivers from carrier discipline and FRA enforcement for qualifying events. The FRA and rail carriers' cooperation indicates the growing value placed on this unique safety information gathered through safety reporting to C3RS.
For any questions regarding your specific C3RS territory boundaries and waivers, please see a member of your carrier's C3RS Peer Review Team (PRT) or refer to your carrier's governing IMOU.
Download and print Frequently Asked Questions about the C3RS program.
A close call is any condition or event that may have the potential for more serious safety consequences. Some examples of close calls could be, but are not limited to, a train missing a temporary speed restriction, a train striking a derail without derailing, a blue flag not removed after releasing equipment, or proper track protection not provided during track maintenance.
Employees whose carrier and craft are covered by a signed Implementing Memorandum of Understanding (IMOU) can participate in NASA C3RS and receive a waiver from discipline. Anyone submitting a report to NASA C3RS will receive confidential treatment.
Managers can submit a report confidentially, but each carrier's IMOU indicates whether or not managers receive a waiver from discipline.
File a report if you are involved in or witness an event that meets the close call definition. Submit the form to NASA within the timeline specified in your carrier's IMOU. Most current IMOUs either require 48 hours or three business days, not counting weekends and Federal Holidays, from the date of the incident to receive a waiver from discipline and some IMOUs describe boundary limits.
Complete the report form either through secure electronic report submission or fill out the paper form and send by U.S. mail. Postage-paid NASA C3RS reporting forms can be found at your on-duty location or download and print a pdf form from the website. Report to C3RS.
There is no limit to the number of times that you can file a report, but some carriers may limit the number of times you may be eligible for a waiver.
The PRT is the Peer Review Team that your company may have if your carrier's IMOU establishes a PRT. The PRT consists of local representatives from the carrier and FRA at the carrier site. The PRT receives your de-identified report for review. The PRT may recommend corrective actions to the carrier after their independent analysis of the report.
Participating carrier employees and managers who are covered by an Implementing Memorandum of Understanding (IMOU) may be eligible to receive a waiver from carrier discipline and FRA enforcement in exchange for sharing valuable safety information with C3RS.
The IMOUs, developed for each specific site by FRA, rail carriers, and labor representatives, outline how C3RS works at each site; defines the rights, roles, and responsibilities of all stakeholders; and describes how the system will operate. The conditions for receiving a waiver are defined in each carriers' IMOU.
For further information on waiver conditions and what is outside the scope of NASA C3RS, please see a member of your carrier's C3RS Peer Review Team (PRT) or refer to your company's governing IMOU.
To learn more about reporting, participating railroads, and protection, you may also visit the FRA's website: https://railroads.dot.gov/human-performance/c3rs/confidential-close-call-reporting-system-c3rs
No. NASA C3RS is in addition and complementary to existing safety programs currently at your carrier.
C3RS de-identified reports may be used by the railroad community and/or government agencies to develop corrective actions and safety improvements. By sharing your lessons learned, you might prevent others from making the same mistake. De-identified reports are available in the C3RS searchable database - DBQT. In addition, your de-identified reports are sent to your carrier’s Peer Review Team (PRT) which consists of local representatives from the carrier and FRA. The PRT reviews reports and recommends corrective actions.
The DataBase Query Tool (DBQT) is a searchable database of de-identified Confidential Close Call Reports submitted to NASA through the C3RS program. DBQT contains reports from all participating carriers across the USA. New reports are added every month. Go to DBQT.
DBQT will be used to increase rail safety throughout the entire industry. For example, reports in the DBQT may be used to: