Metra aiming to reduce close calls

  • Metra's aiming to reduce close calls with a confidential reporting system.

    Metra's aiming to reduce close calls with a confidential reporting system. Daily Herald File Photo

Updated 3/8/2016 6:07 PM

Metra is increasing the number of employees who can report close calls confidentially, after seeing positive results from a 2015 initiative, officials said Tuesday.

Since the agency started the anonymous reporting system last April, 130 reports of risky behavior involving Metra trains were made to a third party, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.


Initially the program was limited to train crews but it now includes workers in the mechanical, engineering and police departments.

The joint agreement between Metra, labor unions and the Federal Railroad Administration is intended to address problems such as speeding, trains missing signals or nearly hitting rail workers.

Previously, confessing safety violations was left to the discretion of crew members. Traditionally, disclosure of rule-breaking could result in disciplinary action for the person reporting it or their co-workers.

NASA scrubs the information to prevent individuals from being identified. Their findings are reviewed by the Federal Railroad Administration, Metra and labor officials who will develop corrective plans.

By pinpointing dangerous patterns, railroads can step up training and look for problem areas.

Since making the change, workplace injuries have dipped from 111 in 2014 to 97 in 2015, officials said.

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