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What is the Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS) at BTS?
C3RS at BTS is an FRA-funded demonstration project 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 demonstration project 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.

What is the model Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)?
The model MOU is a template that describes the core principles and values necessary to successfully implement a confidential reporting system. It also describes the C3RS demonstration project and explains the rights, roles, and responsibilities of project stakeholders. Each demonstration site must develop its own Implementing Memorandum of Understanding (IMOU) that is customized to address local concerns and interests.

What is the Implementing Memorandum of Understanding (IMOU)?
The IMOU is a document developed for a specific site according to the model MOU and customized by local labor representatives, management, BTS, and FRA. It outlines how C3RS works at the site; defines the rights, roles, and responsibilities of all stakeholders; and describes how the system will operate. It is used in conjunction with existing collective bargaining agreements. Each demonstration site must develop its own IMOU that is tailored to the needs of local stakeholders while remaining consistent with the principles and values set forth in the model MOU. The purpose of the IMOU is to obtain full agreement from all parties to cooperate in the C3RS demonstration project.

How does C3RS work?
The confidential reporting system:
  • Provides an electronic tool for railroad employees to voluntarily and confidentially report close calls.
  • 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 effectiveness of C3RS.

Who can take part in C3RS at BTS?
Employees from Union Pacific (UP)'s North Platte Service Unit, Canadian Pacific (CP)'s Chicago Area, and New Jersey Transit (NJT) may submit reports to C3RS at BTS.

How many carriers are using C3RS at BTS?
Currently three: UP's North Platte Service Unit in Nebraska, CP's Chicago Area, and NJT.

How do carriers, labor organizations, and FRA use C3RS data?
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.
Can I call BTS to retrieve a forgotten access code issubed by eSubmit?
No. It is not possible to accurately identify whether the caller is the true reporter and owner of the access code based on the information BTS has. This is an important measure C3RS takes to protect confidentiality.

What are the benefits of C3RS?
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.
What close call events are outside the scope of C3RS?
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.
Can an injury be reported using C3RS at BTS?
All injuries are excluded from C3RS protections but may be reported to BTS.

Can a C3RS report be used instead of safety processes such as the Hazardous Condition Report to report conditions requiring immediate response?
No. C3RS reporting does not change existing safety processes.

Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, U.S. Department of Transportation