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Noughts CROSSes NCE recently canvassed the profession's views on the need for an independent confidential reporting service on structural safety (CROSS). Dave Parker reports the results, and looks at

The vast majority, 97%, of respondents to New Civil Engineer's questionnaire on a confidential reporting service for structural and civil engineers were in favour of a scheme. The response emerged from replies to NCE's survey of the profession's views about a scheme such as CROSS in its 9/16 April issue.

Of the minority against the idea, it was clear that most had never had problems in this area.

One respondent who did report a problem on his form but voted against CROSS added: 'Engineers should be of sufficient character not to be afraid of reporting hazards. If they are not, they don't deserve to be professional engineers'.

This point of view was rare. The vast majority of respondents - both those with and without experiences touching on the issue - believed that such a scheme would be of great benefit to the industry.

However, several of those voting in favour of CROSS had doubts about restricting the scheme to chartered civil and structural engineers. 'You would exclude thousands at the sharp end of engineering,' warned one respondent. Others questioned the proposed scope of the scheme. 'Although CROSS could deal with ongoing problems/ trends, would it be able to deal with/ react to situations reported that require immediate attention?' enquired one. Another asked: 'But what about contamination remediation projects? We need to think bigger, wider, more all-embracing.'

A final comment comes from a respondent who voted for CROSS despite having no experiences in which it would have been of help. 'The reason for such a service is not that commercial interests obscure reporting, only that no collated system exists at all currently', he wrote. 'All information is anecdotal at the moment. Safety science requires the review of 'near-miss incidents' etc to build the pyramid of cause and effect.'

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