Many accidents and incidents that occur on the railway are preceded by a Close Call, which warns of a potential safety problem. This makes close call reporting crucial for trackside safety.

What is a close call?

According to Network Rail, a close call is an incident that has the potential to cause harm or damage. It’s something that could have resulted in an injury, accident, or damage to property, but didn’t.

This includes the potential to:

· Harm a person, including minor and major injuries, as well as fatalities

· Harm the environment and/or a protected species

· Damage railway infrastructure, plant, vehicles, tools, equipment and systems

Why is close call reporting so important?

Although close calls don’t result in injuries or fatalities, or damage to equipment or the environment, they can provide valuable information, allowing companies to pro-actively manage safety and prevent a more serious incident or accident occurring.

Reporting close calls means that immediate risks can be removed, and managers can identify any high risk areas and the steps that can be taken to avoid serious incidents. So, for example, if a trip hazard is identified, it should be reported as a close call before someone trips over it and it becomes an incident.

Mobile technology and close call reporting

Close call reporting is central to safety on the railways, providing the opportunity to improve safety practices in situations that could potentially have more serious consequences.

Workers are required to report any close calls so that risks can be eliminated before incidents or injuries occur, and there are tough penalties for failure to record close calls correctly.

But traditional, paper-based close call reporting can be problematic, with workers having to complete paper forms on site. This can lead to close calls not being reported, as well as errors and inconsistencies.

Utilising mobile technology to create an online reporting system will make the trackside completion of close call reports faster, easier, and more accurate, reducing paperwork and removing the need for paper forms to be carried onsite.

These reports can be made instantly and in real-time, allowing them to be acted upon straight away, with real-time information being shared with other track side workers. Not only this, but the data collected can be analysed and stored centrally, making it accessible from anywhere, and with a thorough audit trail.

With mobile technology, workers can also use their devices to take images documenting the issue, which can be uploaded and stored as evidence alongside the submitted report form.

Using our no-code technology, Siemens built and launched their own track-side close call management app, allowing them to enhance and streamline their close call reporting processes. This helped them to reduce the risk of injuries and fatalities, while increasing the reliability of the data collected. Find out more here.

To find out more, download our latest special report or get in touch to find out more about how we can help you develop technology-based Close Call reporting systems with our no-code mobile apps.