Confidential Reporting on Structural Safety: Five things to know about CROSS

Author: Paul McNulty

Date published

15 June 2018

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Confidential Reporting on Structural Safety: Five things to know about CROSS

Date published

Paul McNulty

Date published

15 June 2018


Paul McNulty

Paul McNulty, Senior Engineer at Structural-Safety, explains the safety mission behind CROSS and why IStructE members should make reports.​

CROSS is a unique reporting scheme sponsored by The Institution, the ICE, and the HSE. Its purpose is to share lessons learned from structural safety issues and help prevent future failures - by providing insight into how safety issues occur and spurring the development of safety improvement measures.

CROSS depends on professionals like you to submit reports: the more reports submitted, the better CROSS can identify and quantify safety issues across the industry.

Any lesson you have ever learned from a CROSS publication was only possible because someone like you decided to submit a report, allowing you to learn from their experience.

If you have a safety issue you should submit a report to CROSS right away or contact Structural-Safety with any questions - we’ll be glad to help. Anyone involved in the buildings and civil engineering industry is welcome to submit a report.

In the meantime, here are some answers to some of the most common questions I receive relating to the scheme.

1. Why is CROSS confidential?

CROSS confidential reporting techniques were developed by NASA for the aviation industry in the USA.

A confidential system allows safety issues to be reported without creating concerns in areas like co-worker relations, client loyalty, or insurance.

Any identifiable details, such as a project, product, individual or organisation, are completely confidential to CROSS.

Reporters’ personal information is collected to verify the contents of the report, and to communicate with the reporter if necessary, but this also remains confidential.

2. What should I report to CROSS?

Structural failures and collapses, or safety concerns about the design, construction or use of structures.

Near misses, or observations relating to failures or collapses (which have not been uncovered through formal investigation) are also welcomed.

Reports do not have to be about current activities so long as they are relevant.

Small scale events are important - they can be the precursors to more major failures. No concern is too small to be reported and conversely nothing is too large.

Your report might relate to a specific experience or it could be based on a series of experiences indicating a trend.

3. What does CROSS do with my report?

First, your personal information and any identifiable details are removed by a CROSS Delegated Person. Your report also goes through general editing, so don’t worry if it is not written perfectly. The report is now known as a de-identified report.

The de-identified report is passed to the CROSS Panel, who provide comments, then send you the report for your approval to publish on the Structural-Safety website.

Selected reports are included in the quarterly CROSS newsletter, which is emailed to Structural-Safety mailing list subscribers.

Reports are categorised to provide statistics and identify trends. CROSS then works with professional, industry and trade bodies to address safety issues identified in reports, by influencing codes of practice or guidance documents.

4. Has CROSS effected change in the past?

Thousands of individuals involved in the buildings and civil engineering industry read CROSS reports and learn from the safety issues that others have experienced.

Many organisations discuss the latest quarterly CROSS Newsletter to learn from the reports and stimulate discussion.

CIRIA and other guidance documents have been developed due to trends identified in CROSS reports.

Dame Judith Hackitt’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety recommended that CROSS should be extended and strengthened to cover all engineering safety concerns (having studied examples from the CROSS reports database and the views of the CROSS Panel.)

5. Can I report an individual or organisation to CROSS?

CROSS is not a regulator and does not apportion blame to individuals or organisations and cannot intervene in relation to specific projects or matters of concern. In circumstances where urgent advice is needed, or you consider there is a potential risk to health and safety, your first step should be to raise this with the organisation(s) concerned and, if applicable, your line manager.

If this does not resolve the issue, or if the response received is inadequate, then the appropriate regulator should be informed.

In the UK, this may be the Health and Safety Executive or, in the case of a building, the Local Authority. In such cases, you should consider whether it is necessary to report the matter on a non-confidential basis.

Find out more about CROSS

Visit the Structural-Safety website and sign-up for quarterly CROSS Newsletters and email updates from Structural-Safety.

You can also arrange a Structural-Safety talk for your organisation: we would welcome the opportunity to visit your office, share examples of CROSS reports and SCOSS Alerts, and tell you more about how the organisation works.

Contact us to arrange a talk for your organisation.

Additional information



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