Metra and transportation unions join FRA in adopting major safety reporting system

Metra and transportation union representatives and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) officials said Thursday they have created a Confidential Close Call Reporting System to address safety issues and create a positive safety culture.

FRA said the reporting system complements existing safety programs, builds a positive safety culture, creates an early warning system, focuses on problems instead of people, provides an incentive for learning from errors and targets the root cause of an issue, not the symptom.

Labor, Metra management and FRA officials signed a memorandum of understanding pledging to implement the voluntary system at a meeting at Metra headquarters in Chicago. Metra is the commuter rail agency serving Cook, DuPage, Will, Lake, Kane and McHenry counties in northern Illinois.  

Those signing the memorandum included Metra Executive Director and CEO Don Orseno, Metra Deputy Executive Director for Operations Pete Zwolfer, Metra Chief Transportation Officer  Marty Ryan, Metra Director of Safety Hilary Konczal, FRA Associate Administrator for Railroad Safety/Chief Safety Officer Robert Lauby, general chairman of the American Train Dispatchers Association  Ron Wesolowski and Transportation Communications Union National Representative Anthony Siriano.

Also signing the mememorandum were Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen General Chairmen Pete Semenek, Clay Craddock and J.J. Balonek; Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers Vice President John England; and SMARTGeneral Chairman Barry Abbott.  

“Safety is Metra’s highest priority, and this new program is a major and exciting new enhancement to our safety efforts,” Orseno said “We are particularly pleased with the enthusiastic cooperation of our labor unions, who have demonstrated their commitment to making Metra the safest possible railroad.”

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