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Collaborative Reporting for Safer Structures US (CROSS-US)

Region: CROSS-US 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.

 

Origins and development of CROSS

CROSS-US was established by the Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Engineers (SEI/ASCE) in 2019, as a new region in a growing international network of CROSS regions. Background on the development of the CROSS system follows.

In 1976 The Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) and the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in the UK established the Standing Committee on Structural Safety (SCOSS). Similar to the US-based ASCE Technical Committee on Forensic Engineering established in 1983, 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.

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 developed by NASA.

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

As CROSS’s positive influence on safety culture was demonstrated in the UK, its use expanded, and the vision for an international network of CROSS regions emerged. CROSS-Australasia was added in 2018; CROSS-US in 2019; further international CROSS regions are planned.

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 Grenfell Tower fire leads to the expansion of CROSS-UK into fire safety

There was a major and tragic fire in 2017 at the Grenfell Tower in London with multiple fatalities. This led to  Dame Judith Hackitt’s being appointed by the UK Government to carry out an Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety.

Evidence was given by CROSS-UK based on reports received through its confidential safety reporting system that illustrated the depth and extent of safety issues within the building industry.  The final Hackitt report stated:

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

As of April 2021, CROSS-UK therefore embraces fire safety in addition to structural safety. The new name Collaborating Reporting for Safer Structures (CROSS) reflects the integrated way in which professionals engage for a common purpose.

While CROSS-AUS and CROSS-US have yet to undertake fire safety, they both operate with CROSS-UK in an international system with the new name.

Reporting to CROSS-US

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

CROSS-US 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-US 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-US 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.

Blame is never apportioned. The aim is to enable lessons to be learned so that similar situations can be avoided.

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-US 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.