A close call is an accident that could have happened but did not. If ignored, close calls can lead to serious consequences. They are an opportunity to improve safety practices. Understanding the factors that lead to an unsafe event can greatly reduce the risk of an accident. The Close Call Data Program (CCDP) analyzes close calls and addresses their root causes. This helps prevent accidents before they happen.
Safety is a serious transportation issue. The U.S. Department of Transportation works towards eliminating transportation-related injuries and fatalities in the United States. Most transportation-related accidents have a small impact, while others are large-scale catastrophes that affect many people.
Transportation safety has improved to the point that there aren’t enough smaller-scale accidents to provide useful data for analysis. This may seem like a good problem to have, but this crucial data is necessary to prevent catastrophic accidents. The Close Call Data Program is a way to get this data without the occurrence of an actual accident.
Collecting data helps CCDP find the root cause of the close call. Then, CCDP develops corrective actions that work to prevent similar accidents.
BTS maintains the confidentiality of all data collected through CCDP.
Many industries that include a degree of risk in their daily operations have a system in place to report and analyze close calls. Encouraged by the success of the close call system in the aviation industry, the Federal Railroad Association (FRA) formed a Planning Committee representing stakeholders from industry, labor organizations, and government in June 2002. The Committee's purpose was to determine how best to introduce the importance of studying close calls to the railroad industry. By the end of April 2003, the FRA's Office of Research and Development presented "Human Factors Workshop: Improving Railroad Safety through Understanding Close Calls" in Baltimore, MD.
In 2006, the FRA sponsored a pilot project supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS): the Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS), which tested a voluntary and confidential close call reporting system in the railroad industry. The pilot program determined that it is possible to change punishment-based work cultures to more trusting environments in which close call data can be reported without fear of retaliation. The railroad pilot program ended in June 2015.
In 2013, the Close Call Reporting System was implemented for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). A new, web-based submission tool has been employed for the collection of close call reports. This project is currently ongoing.
A new CCDP project, SafeOCS, aims to change the punishment-based work culture in the oil and gas industries, which prevents the collection of crucial close call data. SafeOCS is being developed under BTS and the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).
Would you like to start a CCDP project?
E-mail Demetra Collia at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out and send the form below:
The Close Call Data Program (CCDP) is supported by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. As a federal statistical agency, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) must meet its mission requirements to collect and disseminate high quality transportation information while upholding its legal and ethical obligations to respect the privacy of those who have provided that information.
When BTS collects transportation information for a statistical purpose under a pledge of confidentiality, BTS is required by law to protect that information. Close call reporters and other respondents must be able to trust that the information they provide to BTS is protected and not subject to unauthorized disclosure. To maintain this trust, BTS implements confidentiality procedures that protect individually identifiable information.
BTS takes privacy laws and its ethical obligations to protect information very seriously. BTS has standardized confidentiality procedures in place throughout the agency to make sure respondents’ data is protected and secured. BTS does not disclose your personal information to any unauthorized person.
Standards in place that protect your personal information include:
BTS is authorized by law, 49 U.S.C. 111(c)(2), to collect transportation information for its programs, including CCDP. The BTS confidentiality statute, 49 U.S.C. 111(i), and CIPSEA protect the information BTS collects. These laws make sure that any identifying, sensitive, or proprietary information that BTS collects is not released to unauthorized persons or organizations.
In 2003, BTS hosted confidentiality seminars in response to the passage of CIPSEA.
When collecting or acquiring information for a statistical purpose under CIPSEA, BTS:
BTS uses a pledge of confidentiality when collecting or acquiring any information for statistical purposes. This is a guarantee that BTS will only use the information it collects for statistical purposes and actively protects the information from unauthorized disclosure and use.
The BTS Disclosure Review Board (DRB) reviews information products for disclosures of confidential information before disseminating them to the public. To protect the confidentiality of data, the DRB requires the application of disclosure limitation methods to information products. BTS does this to prevent anyone from using published statistical data to identify an individual or business that has provided confidential information. These disclosure limitation methods modify or remove the characteristics that can put information at risk for disclosure.
BTS sometimes releases microdata files that contain individuals’ responses. All individual identifiers, like your name and address, are removed from these records. BTS also changes unique characteristics (for example, high levels of income) through disclosure limitation methods. BTS restricts geographic identifiers, such as the name of a city, so populations are composed of at least 100,000 people. For tables of data, BTS takes steps to disguise or suppress the original data to ensure confidentiality.
Do you have questions about keeping your information confidential?
Do you have comments or concerns?
Please contact the BTS Confidentiality Officer:
SafeOCS collects and analyzes reports of near-miss events in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The Near-Miss Reporting System for SafeOCS is voluntary and confidential.
Our goals are to:
Our program is targeted to employees working in offshore oil and gas operations on the OCS, but anyone can report a near-miss event. That is, any employee, whether they're a line employee or a supervisor, can submit a near-miss event. Individual companies are also encouraged to submit near-miss data.
A "near-miss" is any sequence of events that could have resulted in human injury, environmental damage, or a negative business impact, but did not due to a change in the chain of events. Any near-miss event is eligible for our program.
By reporting a near-miss event, you can help prevent near-misses from becoming real accidents in the future. Your name and your company's name are protected by law. SafeOCS takes your confidentiality seriously. If you are concerned about reporting a near-miss event in a secure environment while offshore, you can report online or by phone when you're off the facility.
The Close Call Reporting Program is sponsored by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), the Amalgated Transit Union Local 689 (ATU L-689), and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. This program collects reports on close call events, determines the root causes of unsafe conditions and develops preventative safety actions to prevent similar events from happening in the future.
Our goals are to:
The following personnel are eligible for this program:
All injuries are excluded from close call reporting protections, but they may be reported to BTS.
Events aren't accepted if they:
As of July 2015, the pilot close call project for railroad operations has closed.
1-888-568-2377 for the WMATA program
1-844-OCS-FRST (1-844-627-3778) for the SafeOCS program
Close Call Data Program
Bureau of Transportation Statistics
P.O. Box 23295
Washington, DC 20026-3295