The Close Call System was launched in June 2011 to enable the rail industry to record and manage conditions and behaviours that, under different circumstances, could have led to injury or harm. This information is used to mitigate risk and understand broader safety issues. Initially used by Network Rail and its principal contractors there is now a wider impetus to use the system to drive improvements in safety culture and safety performance throughout the rail industry.
We are currently working very closely with Network Rail on plans to improve the existing Close Call system.
During 2017 we worked with representatives from across the industry including Network Rail and principal contractors to document requirements for a close call system which could be made available to users across the industry. We will be working with industry to develop a strategy for taking this work forward.
Studies have shown that for every major accident or fatality there are many hundreds of events of a far less serious nature. In different circumstances, these ‘Close Calls’ could have ended up being more serious accidents.
An example could be a hole in the path for the walking route between sites. No one has slipped or tripped, so there is no injury to report into SMIS, but by reporting the issue as a ‘close call’, there is an opportunity to resolve the problem before any incident occurs.
Likewise, other close calls could be an unfastened seat belt, hazardous materials incorrectly stored, a badly insulated power tool or any other potential incident. By spotting and reporting Close Calls early, injuries can be prevented.