CROSS - The much-needed change for our industry
Director of Northrop and Structural Engineer Karlie Collis, also sits on the Board of Collaborative Reporting for Safer Structures (CROSS) Australasia.
Supported by a group of industry experts, CROSS provides a tool that allows anyone to report near misses or failures confidentially and with minimal time investment. This information and any lessons learned is then freely and widely shared, with the aim of achieving a safer construction industry.
Launched in 2018, the Australasia arm of CROSS is in its infancy, however CROSS UK has been around for over four decades. The system is tried and tested, and in the UK is government funded.
Here, industry experts volunteer their time, as like Karlie, they see the great value of sharing this information, ensuring that our people come home to their families each night.
Breaking a culture of silence
“In the past, failures and near misses have often been hushed up by lawyers and non-disclosure agreements for fear of legal repercussions,” says Karlie.
“This culture of closing ranks and not sharing information meant that any lessons were lost, and mistakes bound to be repeated.”
“CROSS is the much-needed change for our industry.”
“Being able to share this information confidentially and without any identifying characteristics, allows us to focus on what went wrong technically and learn from it – without recrimination or blame getting in the way.”
So how does it all work?
“It’s really simple to report an incident.”
“Unlike the 50-page documents we usually produce in engineering, it takes about five minutes to fill out the proforma. And, if any more information is required, dot points and hand sketches are fine - whatever is easiest and quickest for you.”
“These reports are sent through to a couple of designated people who deidentify the document, taking out any information about the project, people and location.”
“It then goes through a panel of technical experts who distil the lessons learned and identify resources on how to do things better.”
“The information is then reviewed by lawyers and the Board before being published in newsletters, or as an alert if it is timely. It all ends up on an easily searchable database that anyone can access at any time.”
A whole of industry tool
“While CROSS is driven by engineers, it’s for the whole construction industry. Anyone can send reports in, sign up for our newsletters or search our database for free.”
“Our database contains cutting edge and innovative ways of doing things from around the world, so it’s pretty exciting.”
“It also includes things like temporary stability of structures, safety on construction sites, essentially anything we can do to make structures safer. So, I would expect that builders would get as much out of it as engineers.”
“Now days, WHS laws specify that we need to create a psychologically safe environment for our workers.”
“Having this information widely available, can help consultant engineers or builders who run sites, know that they are not alone in facing safety issues, supporting their psychological health and wellbeing.”
“At Northrop, the safety of our people is paramount. We strive to create an environment where our people feel safe to report when things go wrong. We talk about it and learn so much.”
“We’re finding that a lot of people are very keen to have access to this type of information once they know it’s available. So, we really need to get the word out about CROSS.”
“After all, the more people that sign up and the more people that write reports, the bigger the database and sharing of information.”
Where to from here?
The message is that you don’t need to wait until something else goes wrong to make a report.
“There’s a lot of people in our industry with a lot of knowledge stored; things they have come across that went wrong or they would do things differently next time. If each of those people shared that information, just think of how much more advanced and safer our industry would be.”
For more information about CROSS Australasia, you can contact Karlie Collis at email@example.com
To report a near miss or failure for a building or structure, sign up for CROSS newsletters or to search their database, go to https://www.cross-safety.org/aus