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Collaborative Reporting for Safer Structures Australasia (CROSS-AUS)

Region: CROSS-AUS Published: 29 March 2021


CROSS helps professionals to make structures safer. We do this by publishing safety information based on the reports we receive and information in the public domain.

Our secure and confidential safety reporting system allows professionals to share their experiences to help others.

 

The new CROSS

CROSS previously stood for Confidential Reporting on Structural Safety and as part of our relaunch we have a new name: Collaborative Reporting for Safer Structures (CROSS). The new name reflects the integrated way in which professionals collaborate for a common purpose.

As part of our mission to make structures safer, we have broadened the remit of CROSS-UK to include fire safety, although this does not apply to CROSS Australasia (CROSS-AUS) for the moment. This is a consequence of the Grenfell Tower fire in London in 2017. It has been driven by Dame Judith Hackitt’s appointment by Government to carry out an Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety.

Evidence was given by CROSS-UK based on reports received through our confidential safety reporting system that illustrated the depth and extent of safety issues within the building industry. This led to recommendation 1.4c in the final report which stated:

‘…the current CROSS scheme should be extended and strengthened to cover all engineering safety concerns…’

Our background in structural safety

The Standing Committee on Structural Safety (SCOSS) was established by the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) and the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in 1976.

The main function of SCOSS was to identify in advance trends and developments which might contribute to an increased risk to structural safety. General findings were published periodically, along with publications on specific matters of interest. More than one hundred topics have been closely studied over the last 45 years. Many of these by their nature are fundamental and ongoing issues.

Voluntary safety reporting for the built environment

In 2005, SCOSS implemented a system for the collation of data on matters of concern relating to structural safety. The system was named Confidential Reporting on Structural Safety (CROSS). It was based on the success of confidential reporting in the aviation industry.

CROSS allowed professionals to confidentially share their experiences to help others. It aimed to improve safety by publishing information which would not otherwise get in to the public domain.

To date, CROSS has received over 1,000 safety reports on topics ranging from issues with domestic buildings to major structural collapses. Each report contains information which the industry can learn from to make structures safer.

Each report contains information which the industry can learn from to make structures safer

The expansion of CROSS-UK in to fire safety

Conversations with the fire safety community as a natural partner to the structural safety community started a decade ago and relationships have been evolving ever since.

Prior to the expansion of CROSS-UK in to fire safety, CROSS-UK received a number of reports related to fire safety. These were generally in the space where fire safety and structural safety come together.

You can read more about the new developments for CROSS-UK and fire safety in the CROSS for fire safety article.

Reporting to CROSS-AUS

Our secure and confidential safety reporting system allows professionals to share their experiences to help others.

CROSS-AUS welcomes reports about structural safety issues related to buildings and other structures in the built environment. Reports should aim to include information that will help others to learn from the safety issue identified.

Reports typically relate to concerns, near misses or incidents.

Our confidential reporting system can be used by professionals who work with buildings and other structures. This includes anyone with an interest in, or responsibility for, structural safety.

If you would like to know more, you can visit the reporting to CROSS-AUS page.

Benefits of safety reporting

The aim of reporting to CROSS is to make structures safer and ultimately to save lives and reduce injuries. Safety reporting helps to achieve this by:

  • Promoting a culture change: to encourage professionals to identify and report safety issues that occur throughout a structure’s life cycle, including during design, construction, occupation or operation, demolition and reuse

  • Sharing lessons learned: to identify key lessons to be learned from safety reports to help professionals to make structures safer

  • Identifying pre-cursors: to identify and provide an opportunity to address pre-cursors which might result in a risk to life safety in similar circumstances if not addressed

  • Identifying shortfalls: to identify and provide an opportunity to address shortfalls in the design, construction, occupation or operation, demolition and reuse stages

  • Improving competency: using published safety reports from CROSS as training and learning will form a key part of increasing the competency levels of all professionals

  • Supporting regulatory activities: information from analyses of the reports can be used for enforcement and wider regulatory activities such as planning future activity, publishing guidance and providing training and advice

  • Supporting industry activities: safety reports can be used by industry bodies as a learning resource for their members. Trends identified from reports can be used by industry to publish guidance and provide training.

  • Assisting with horizon scanning: culture change and improved competency will help professionals and others to look ahead and predict future safety risks which have not yet been identified as likely. These include low probability but high consequence safety incidents.

The aim of reporting to CROSS is to make structures safer and ultimately to save lives and reduce injuries

The CROSS-AUS Expert Panel

Our Expert Panel is at the heart of what we do. The Members are all volunteers.

The Expert Panel comments on reports we receive. They use their experience to help you understand what can be learned from the reports. Where possible, they aim to identify the underlying causes of safety issues and make reference to other publications that those reading the report can access and use.

The anonymisation of reports ensures that the focus is on sharing lessons learned so that similar situations can be avoided, and not on attributing blame.

The Expert Panel comments on reports we receive. They use their experience to help you understand what can be learned from the reports.

The Expert Panel has a number of other roles, including maintaining a continuing review of matters affecting safety in the built environment and helping to write other safety information for CROSS-AUS.

You can find out more on the CROSS-AUS Expert Panel page.

How to become part of the CROSS community

We want all professionals in the built environment to be part of our community. Here are some practical ways that you can get involved:

  • Share safety information for others to learn from: you can do this by using our secure and confidential reporting system. Professionals who work with buildings and other structures can use our reporting system. You can find out more on our website.

  • Use the information on our website to make structures safer: here are some practical ways that you can use the information:

    • As part of your continuous learning and development

    • Improve your knowledge of safety for your area of work

    • Keep up to date with emerging safety issues

    • Find out more about best practice

    • Share it with your team and others

  • Get in touch with us if you would like to collaborate: we are always interested in exploring opportunities to work with others to make structures safer

  • Encourage others to get involved with CROSS

Share your knowledge

Your report will make a difference. It will help to create positive change and improve safety.

Our secure and confidential safety reporting system gives professionals the opportunity to share their experiences to help others.