Confidential incident reporting

A confidential incident reporting system is a mechanism which allows problems in safety-critical fields such as aviation and medicine to be reported in confidence. This allows events to be reported which otherwise might not be reported through fear of blame or reprisals against the reporter. Analysis of the reported incidents can provide insight into how those events occurred, which can spur the development of measures to make the system safer.[1][2]


The Aviation Safety Reporting System, created by the US aviation industry in 1976, was one of the earliest confidential reporting systems. The International Confidential Aviation Safety Systems Group is an umbrella organization for confidential reporting systems in the airline industry.[3]

Other examples include:

  • CIRAS, (Confidential Incident Reporting and Analysis System), the confidential reporting system for the British railway industry[4]
  • CHIRP, (Confidential Human Factors Incident Reporting Programme / Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Programme) a confidential reporting system for the British aviation and maritime industries
  • CROSS (Confidential Reporting on Structural Safety), a confidential reporting system for the structural and civil engineering industry[5]

It has been suggested that medical organizations also adopt the confidential reporting model.[6] Examples of confidential reporting in medicine include CORESS, a confidential reporting system for surgery in the United Kingdom[7]


  1. O'Leary, M; Chappell, S. L. (1996). "Confidential incident reporting systems create vital awareness of safety problems". ICAO journal. 51 (8): 11–3, 27. PMID 11541832.
  2. "ASRS: The Case for Confidential Incident Reporting Systems. NASA ASRS Pub. 60" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 2014-05-15.
  3. "ASRS - Aviation Safety Reporting System: International". NASA. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  4. John Davies. "Improved railway safety through the implementation of a confidential incident reporting and analysis system (CIRAS)". University of Strathclyde. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  5. "learning from experience: Post-incident reporting for UK dams -- 2008 Annual Report" (PDF). Environment Agency. March 2009. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  6. Anthony N Nicholson; Peter C Tait. "Confidential reporting: from aviation to clinical medicine" (PDF). Clinical Medicine Vol 2 No 3 May/June 2002, p.234
  7. Lewis, A; Taylor, I (2006). "CORESS - a confidential reporting system for surgery". Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. 88 (3): 249–51. doi:10.1308/003588406X106441. PMC 1963668. PMID 16719990.

See also

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