How to successfully implement a close call reporting system in rail

November 15, 2021
Learn how to successfully implement a close-call reporting system in rail and how to use close calls reporting to make data-led decisions

Close call reporting is a vital part of promoting a proactive safety culture and safeguarding workers on site. But how do you successfully impliment a close calls reporting system working in the rail industry?

This blog will cover everything you need to know including:

  • What is a close call
  • Why report close calls
  • How to record near misses
  • How to use close call reporting to make data-led decisions

What is a close call?

A close call is defined as anything which has the potential to cause harm or damage, it is also commonly described as a near miss. This usually refers to an area or object that could be considered potentially hazardous to workers in and around Site, and may lead to injury if left unreported.

Close calls are often confused with incidents when recorded by site teams, however they are different as they have not yet caused any harm or danger.

Why report close calls?

It is vital to have a robust close calls reporting system in place in order to mitigate the risk to site workers, others who come into contact with active sites and protect railway assets. Close call reporting also provides an invaluable opportunity for proactive long term learning by allowing teams to identify common trends in close calls and understand ways in which these may be minimised for future shifts.  Reporting close calls will save lives and make the railway a safer place for everyone.

One of the most frequent issues encountered when trying to implement a close calls reporting process is fear of blame. Many workers on site are reluctant to properly record and document close calls when they occur out of fear of getting into trouble or allowing a potential hazard to occur on site. Additionally many workers ignore close call reporting processes as they do not truly understand the importance of creating these reports and how they can be paramount to worker safety.

As the underlying causes of close calls is often either

  • Fatigue
  • Poor or insufficient training
  • Faulty equipment

It is vital to educate workers on the importance of close calls so actions may be taken to minimise these risks immediately without fear and confusion.

How to record close calls and near misses

  • Establish a clear understanding amongst your team to clarify the importance of close calls reporting and why it is necessary. If your teams understand why reporting near misses on site is important to their safety they are much more likely to carry out these processes correctly.
  • Make sure close calls are recorded as soon as they occur or are spotted. Using a digital, cloud-based application to record close calls is beneficial. Knowing safety critical information at the time of the event or shift means that decisions can be made before it’s too late.
  • Make sure close calls are documented thoroughly and supported with photographic evidence. At Raildiary, we know a picture is worth a thousand words, particularly for close call reporting. Including images alongside any anecdotal information provides clear, indisputable evidence.
  • Ensure data is available in real-time. Not thoroughly reporting close calls, not reporting when they are noticed means safety critical information doesn’t reach decision makers when they should. Out of date information and decision making may lead to injury, or worse, fatality.Additionally, you can also read more about Network Rail’s useful “recognise, report, respond’ framework for reporting close calls reporting here.

How to use close call reporting to make data-led decisions

Once you have established a robust close calls reporting system, it is important to properly make use of the data collected by site teams. A common misconception is that the process of data analysis is time consuming and tedious, using a real-time reporting solution such as Raildiary to capture and analyse your close calls  can help to streamline your reporting process.

The first step to making data-led decisions is to ensure that once a close call is reported, everyone on site is immediately notified to ensure that this near miss does not become an accident. Proactive decisions based on evidence can then be taken to mitigate delays and safeguard workers on site.

Additionally, allocating a weekly session to analysing close calls data collected can help to identify any patterns and trends within the data. Supporting this with geotagged and timestamped images can also help to pinpoint any locations on site where close calls may consistently occur and collaboratively build up a database of close calls. Therefore, by using a reporting solution like Raildiary to collect and analyse your close calls reports, it is easy to get powerful data-led insights as to why close calls are occurring on site and provides an opportunity to harness long term learning and proactively promote a safety culture amongst staff on site.

In summary, implementing a close calls reporting system can be a valuable asset for businesses in the rail industry. By encouraging employees to report near misses and potential hazards, analyzing the data from reports, fostering open communication and collaboration, and demonstrating a commitment to safety and compliance, businesses can enhance safety culture and awareness, reduce incidents and associated costs, and improve efficiency and profitability.

How to successfully implement a close call reporting system in rail

Emilia Oates

Marketing Lead

Marketing Lead

Raildiary LinkedIn
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