Improved railway safety through the implementation of a confidential incident reporting and analysis system (CIRAS)

  • John Davies (Participant)

Impact: Impact - for External PortalQuality of life and safety, Professional practice, training and standards

Who is affected

Train services and passengers in the UK and USA.


The Confidential Incident Reporting and Analysis System (CIRAS), was developed in response to concerns about the role of human error in UK railway accidents. In 2008, CIRAS became an independently operated unit within the Rail Safety and Standards Board and is now available to everyone working in the UK rail industry; it codes reports about health and safety concerns and then facilitates a resolution between the individual and the relevant company or companies. 2.75 million passengers and 400,000 tonnes of freight use the railways in Great Britain every day and CIRAS impacts on the safety of all railway staff and passengers by ensuring that there are no barriers to reporting and resolving potential problems and hazards. It has also led to the construction of a database allowing safety issues to be classified and resolved before they can occur. Between 2008 and 2012 CIRAS received 2228 reports; 45% of these resulted in tangible safety improvements and approximately 33% contained important information about safety that was new to the company concerned. CIRAS has directly influenced the development of a confidential reporting system used in the USA.
Impact statusOpen
Category of impactQuality of life and safety, Professional practice, training and standards
Impact levelBenefit


  • REF2014 impact case study