The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET), SMART United Transportation Union-Local 61 (SMART-UTU), and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) signed an Implementing Memorandum of Understanding (IMOU) for the Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS).
As a C3RS site, SEPTA's railroad conductors and engineers will be able to anonymously report near misses and unsafe conditions without fear of repercussion. SEPTA joins Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, Chicago’s Metra, MBTA/Keolis, Long Island Railroad, Metro North, and Pa.’s Strasburg Railroad as carriers with C3RS IMOUs.
"Building a strong safety culture is a key organizational goal for SEPTA. We are always exploring ways to expand and enhance our programs," said SEPTA GM Jeffrey Knueppel. "As a C3RS site, we will be made aware of situations that we might not have been previously alerted to so that we can take action to prevent accidents and protect our employees and passengers."
Under the C3RS system, SEPTA's engineers and conductors will be able to submit a safety problem or close call online or through U.S. mail to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NASA, acting as an independent third-party federal agency, gathers and analyzes all data for C3RS, removes employees' names and contact information (these are required for the NASA portion of the investigation), and then returns the reports to a peer review team comprised of SEPTA managers, the unions, and FRA for review and action.
"We are looking for conditions or close calls other than accidents or injuries that might not otherwise be reported to the FRA," said SEPTA Assistant GM, System Safety, Scott Sauer. "We are asking employees to report events that we might not otherwise know about, the warning signs and precursors that could lead to major safety risks and accidents."