Norfolk Southern, BLET, SMART-TD to Launch Pilot Railroad Safety Program

Under the one-year C3RS pilot, covered NS employees can report safety concerns with the certainty that such reports will not result in discipline.

Norfolk Southern Train
Norfolk Southern

Norfolk Southern Corporation, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) and the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers – Transportation Division (SMART-TD), in partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), partnered to develop an FRA Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS) pilot program designed to enhance railroad safety.

"NS is proud to partner with our labor leaders and FRA to make another industry-leading advancement in safety," says Alan Shaw, Norfolk Southern president and CEO. "We are committed to setting the gold standard for rail safety, and we are proud to be the first Class I railroad to deliver on our promise to co-develop and launch a C3RS program."

"It should be the goal of everyone who works in the railroad industry to continually improve safety," says BLET national president Eddie Hall. "Providing a confidential platform to report unsafe practices allows us to harness the power of every worker's voice. NS and its CEO, Alan Shaw, should be applauded for taking this step. I hope that this will become a model for other Class I freight railroads."

"This is huge step forward for the safety of our brothers and sisters at Norfolk Southern," says SMART-TD president Jeremy Ferguson. "SMART-TD has been a long-time champion of C3RS, and this new program will allow our members to speak up when they see unsafe conditions without fear of negative repercussions. I would like to thank General Chairmen James Ball, Joe Borders, Tommy Gholson, David Phillips, and Dan Weir for their unwavering commitment to bringing C3RS to their members."

Key takeaways:

  •  Under the one-year C3RS pilot, covered NS employees can report safety concerns with the certainty that such reports will not result in discipline. NASA will deidentify data and provide it for review by a joint committee of NS and labor representatives, who, with FRA's guidance, will identify and implement corrective actions to improve safety.
  • Key goals of the C3RS pilot program include collecting currently unreported unsafe practices, behaviors, or situations; identifying and implementing corrective actions; and sharing general trends and statistics to enhance railroad safety.
  • Throughout the program, FRA will provide oversight, guidance and support to the parties as they analyze safety data and work to effect positive change.

"FRA's C3RS program provides a useful industry-wide platform to gather valuable insights from frontline railroad workers when they experience close calls, helping to uncover risks and providing opportunities for railroads and their workers to take actions to prevent serious safety incidents," says Amit Bose, FRA administrator. "We appreciate BLET, NS, and SMART-TD's collaboration on this important partnership, and FRA remains committed to further expanding participation in the C3RS program to advance safety."