Close call reporting is an essential rail safety process. When completed correctly, they inform future rail work planning to ensure it is as safe as possible, potentially saving lives.

Therefore, it is highly important that they are accurately completed and the data safely stored for future reference. But what does a close call typically look like, and how are rail supply chain companies submitting these safety-critical reports?

What is a Close Call?

According to Network Rail, a close call is an incident 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.

A close call report is completed when one of these hazards is identified. This means that anyone else coming to work in the area will be able to see that there is a close call reported for that site, helping to mitigate avoidable accidents or miscommunication.

Why is Close Call reporting important?

Close calls are in place in order to stop further incidents once a hazard has been identified, and are crucial for the safety of everyone working on the lines. Although close calls don’t result in injuries or fatalities, they can provide valuable information, allowing people on site to proactively manage safety and prevent a more serious incident occurring.

Siemens returned a 200% ROI by building their own Close Call management app

This helped them to reduce the risk of injuries and fatalities, while increasing the reliability of the data collected.


Reporting close calls means that immediate risks can be removed, and managers can identify any high risk areas so steps can be taken to avoid serious incidents. 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.

As well as the close calls themselves being completed, it is also important that they are filed and stored correctly. This way, in the event of an accident, auditors can review the close calls to see if they were correctly filled in, or if there was even a close call reported at all.

Why choose a digital Close Call report?

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 reporting errors and inconsistencies, or even leaving the close call unreported.

Utilising mobile technology to create a digital close call reporting system will improve the trackside completion of close call reports by making them faster, easier, and more accurate. It also reduces paperwork that those involved are required to fill out, and removes the need for paper forms to be carried onsite. Using a close call app means that reports can be made instantly, enabling this vital information to be shared with other track side workers in real-time, alerting them to potential dangers.

Data from completed forms is also stored centrally, making it accessible anywhere and creating a thorough and complete audit trail. A digital close call app also allows workers to use their mobile device to take images documenting the issue, which can be uploaded and stored as evidence alongside the submitted report form.

Using Nutshell’s no-code technology, a digital close call app can be rapidly built, tested and deployed in a matter of days, resulting in a faster turnaround with minimal disruption to the safety-critical process. 

Want to know more?

Book a 20-minute demo to see a digital close call app in action and see how it can streamline reporting and unify your safety-critical data.