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At the February 15 signing ceremony, from left: General Chairman Scott Bunten, General Chairman Jerry Sturdivant, NS CEO Alan Shaw, FRA Administrator Amit Bose, and General Chairman Dewayne Dehart. (Photo: courtesy of NS)

Representatives of the BLET, Norfolk Southern, the Federal Railroad Administration, and SMART-TD signed a landmark agreement for a Confidential Close Call Reporting System (C3RS) pilot program at the offices of the U.S. Department of Transportation in Atlanta, Ga., on February 15. C3RS allows operating employees to confidentially report close calls or other safety issues without fear of disciplinary action imposed by railroad management.

Signing the implementing memorandum of understanding (IMOU) on behalf of the BLET was General Chairman Scott Bunten (NS-Eastern Lines GCA), General Chairman Jerry Sturdivant (NS-Southern Lines GCA), and General Chairman Dewayne Dehart (NS-Northern Lines GCA).

The C3RS pilot program includes BLET members whose home terminals are Atlanta, Ga. (Sturdivant), Elkhart, Ind. (Dehart), or Roanoke, Va. (Bunten). Close calls will be reported to NASA, the federal space agency which has a long history of monitoring this type of safety protocol. NASA will process the information to maintain the confidentiality of the reporting employee. Then, a Peer Review Team with representatives of labor and management will analyze the close call incidents to determine the most appropriate corrective action.