Metra is now the first U.S. commuter railroad to have a confidential reporting system that includes every union involved in its operations, Metra officials said in a press release.
In April 2015, four of the railroad’s labor unions agreed to implement the system.
Under the voluntary safety reporting system, employees can anonymously report “close calls,” such as safety concerns or violations of operations rules, without facing sanctions from Metra or the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
The goal is to collect data about close calls that otherwise would have gone unreported or underreported, and to take steps to correct safety hazards before an accident occurs, Metra officials said.
Corrective steps could include new or better training or changes to safety rules or operating rules.
To maintain confidentiality, the close calls are reported to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which removes any identifying information. NASA compiles the data and then forwards it for analysis by a peer review team of labor, Metra Management and FRA representatives.
Since the railroad kicked off the program began last year, there have been 130 confidential calls. Additionally, the number of workplace injuries has decreased, Metra Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Don Orseno said.