The Fatigue Insider Blog

You snooze, you win!

Mar 21, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

Sports fever is upon us this month, with the US National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament and the Australian Football League just kicking off, amongst many other International sporting events.

Sports scientists from around the world have suggested that adrenaline, lactic acid clearance and other biochemical factors are far from the only variables affecting performance (and subsequent fatigue) amongst athletes. Many athletes have secondary jobs or other significant responsibilities, and of course, their personal lives, to factor into their routines. International sporting teams often hire sleep specialists to have one-on-ones with athletes, not only to teach them about the role of sleep in preparation and recovery, but also to review their home sleeping environments and offer simple but effective suggestions.

Football clubs including Real Madrid and Manchester City have fitted their training complexes out with specially designed bedrooms for their players and staff to sleep in prior to a game and during training events. Manchester United also have sleep pods installed at the training grounds for players to nap between training sessions.

If you are responsible for performance of a major sporting club, please contact us to find out how we could support your success. 




The challenge of Fatigue in Firefighting

Mar 07, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

The firefighting season in the southern hemisphere has been in full swing, with devastating blazes burning across countries including Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina.

Fighting fires is a physically and mentally demanding job, to say the least. This is not only for the teams on the ground but also for the crew working in the air. ISS recently had the opportunity to work with firefighting helicopter pilots in Spain who explained the complexities of their roles during the season. Working 21 days straight, either in the air or on the ground is standard industry practice, followed by no more than a fortnight spent at home resting. It is therefore no surprise that studies show the quantity of sleep obtained on days worked by firefighters is significantly limited compared to their days off.

In addition to full-time professional firefighters, many countries have the support of volunteers during the season. However, this is not the case in Chile where there have been extreme ongoing fires recently, and where the majority of firefighting roles are voluntary. As a general rule the volunteers would have competing priorities for their sleep and recovery, such as work commitments and parenting. Another factor in the peak of campaigns is the availability of adequate rest areas in order for them to nap and sleep. 

For more information about this research, please comment below or contact us via Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.


Fatigue at Managerial & Executive levels

Feb 21, 2017 ISS Comments (0)


Fatigue is frequently experienced by workers within many industries, at all levels. For managers and executives, arduous days, after-hours phone calls, overflowing email inboxes, and unremitting commercial pressures mean that work hours are excessively long and stressful. This can lead to unhealthy lifestyle choices including poor diet and lack of sleep in order to fulfil expectations.

Unfortunately, fatigue is seldom an issue that is discussed or taken into account at these levels of businesses. It is because excessive work is sometimes revered (despite plenty of hard evidence that it makes you less effective)? Or perhaps it is because errors made in the office don't lead to physical injuries, broken equipment or environmental spills? Another possibility is simply that managers and executives are happy to talk about topics related to high and improving performance, but not anything that might indicate they are humans and get impaired at times.  

One resource that we have found of value is a film titled ‘Grounded’, which was produced by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States. Although the film is now getting a bit dated, it still clearly illustrates how managers in the Aviation industry are just as prone to fatigue as pilots.


If you or your organisation is interested in reducing the risk of fatigue in office staff, including those at managerial and executive levels, please contact us or leave a comment below.



Late Spanish nights not as alluring as they seem

Feb 15, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

We spent some enjoyable time this month working with a client in Spain. Although we were working mostly with around-the-clock staff, when it came to normal working hours and daily factors that can effect sleep, we noticed vast cultural differences to what we are used to (and what others in many parts of the world are used to).

Pressing deadlines, travel and clients' operational demands can sometimes see us working beyond the standard 9-5. However in Spain, working late seems to be the norm. This culture of long working days, with up to 2 hours for a lunch break, is something that we were told stems from the Franco era. Spain’s local time was shifted to the right by an hour, which was seen as convenient by the many Spaniards who worked two jobs to make ends meet.

As for after-work activities such as dining out, attending a football game or watching prime time TV, things kick off rather late in Spain. It is unheard of for a restaurant to open before 8pm, and as for evening entertainment, don't expect anything until at least 9pm! 

Studies have shown that the Spanish sleep approximately an hour less than their European counterparts, which has led to a campaign initiated by a private health insurance organisation called ASISA. The hashtag #Duerme1horamas (or #Sleep1hourmore) is advertised throughout Spain to educate and encourage people to better manage their sleep, in order to help shift a cultural norm. The video below explains a poor sleep routine can lead to hypertension, tachycardia, depression, memory loss, obesity and diabetes.

For more information, leave a comment below.





The napping ‘valley of death’ – how long should you really nap for?

Feb 01, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

Two members of the ISS team are currently travelling through Spain, a country well known for it's afternoon siestas. We all love a good siesta, but have you ever woken up from a nap wondering where you are or what day it is? 

Other than a long sleep, napping is the best countermeasure to fatigue caused by sleep loss, extended wakefulness or circadian pressure. Studies have shown that naps as short as 10 minutes can still give you a boost, even when taken in the afternoon and can help to reduce impairment at night. However, Dr Fiona Kerr from the University of Adelaide has stated that sleeping between half an hour and an hour can enter you into the napping ‘valley of death’ – a ‘fuzzy headed’ feeling when the frontal lobe has powered down, that can leave one feeling more tired than you were originally feeling.

With that in mind, there are two lengths of time that Dr Kerr has recommended:

• The power nap – 15-20 minutes
• The full cycle – 60-90 minutes maximum
Be sure to give yourself time to wake up before completing any safety critical tasks.
For more information on napping, click here or leave a comment below.




Tesla on Bosch Autopilot

Jan 25, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

In October we saw Bosch Australia in partnership with the Victorian Government, TAC and VicRoads, test drive a self-driving car around Albert Park, Victoria. Although it's no Formula 1 car, Gavin Smith, President of Bosch Australia has stated that the Bosch engineered Tesla is the most advanced of the Bosch autonomous cars.

The autonomous technology includes a number of inbuilt radars, sensors and cameras, to not only detect the environment and hazards outside the vehicle but to also monitor internal hazards such as driver fatigue. 

Automation in aircraft was first introduced in the 1980's in order to reduce error and increase efficiency. The advancement seen since then is astounding - it's difficult not to get excited about what is in store for road vehicles.

For more information click here.

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Ultra-long haul flights - How long is too long?

Jan 18, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

We're off to the UK tonight, on our first of many trips overseas this year. While working out our sleep routine, in order for us to hit the ground running, we were reminded of Qantas' announcement last month to fly non-stop from Perth to London.

A drop in oil prices is not the only thing fueling the rife competition for airlines to fly passengers on the world's longest non-stop commercial flight. The introduction of efficient, ultra-long range aircraft has allowed airlines like Emirates and their Boeing 777-200LR to fly non-stop from Dubai to Auckland daily, covering a massive 14,200 km (8,823 miles) during approximately 18 hours. Other airlines have begun announcing plans of launching flight sectors such as Doha to Santiago and Singapore to New Jersey.

If the thought a minimum 16-hour flight makes you sleepy, spare a thought for the crew who's job it is to get you to your destination safely. Although airlines are doing what they can to mitigate the risk of fatigue (such as using two full sets of crew), being awake for long periods of time, crossing multiple time zones and have a disrupted circadian rhythm can all contribute significantly to fatigue. 

Please comment and tell us what excites (or scares) you the most about these sorts of ultra-long range flights. 

Fatigued coal miner awarded $1.25 million in damages

Jan 11, 2017 ISS Comments (0)


Last month in Australia, a central Queensland coal miner was awarded $1.25 million in personal damages after sustaining injuries from an accident whilst driving home fatigued.

The Supreme Court found the mining company and its contractors had not done enough to reduce the risk of fatigue in the workplace. It had become common practice for miners to drive long periods of time after consecutive 12-hour night shifts, sometimes six or more hours.

To read the Australian government media news article, click here or click Read More for the link.


Happy New Year and Safe Travels!

Jan 04, 2017 ISS Comments (0)

Holidays are one of the most high-risk periods on our roads. Unfortunately, both accident and fatality rates are significantly worse during these times. If you're driving during the holidays, be sure to help manage the risks of driver fatigue by:

  • Taking regular breaks (planned and as-required too)
  • Sharing the driving with someone if possible
  • Limiting the length of your drive, or breaking it over multiple days
  • Not driving during the time you'd normally be asleep
  • Making sleep a top priority the day or two before a long trip
  • Ensuring you adjust your plans instead of driving under pressure to reach an unrealistic journey plan
  • Taking a power nap if you're feeling drowsy, and give yourself at least 10 minutes to wake up again before driving
To help ensure you are not too tired before you set off, go through a Driver Fatigue Checklist

From the team at ISS, we wish you all a happy and safe New Year!



Goodbye 2016, and hello 2017!

Dec 22, 2016 ISS Comments (0)


As the year comes to a close it felt like time for a brief update. We have been quiet in our public broadcasts for some time, mainly because we had such a busy year completing client projects. That’s obviously a good thing, and we have had fun while doing it which is even better. In 2016 the team and I travelled a lot within Australia and to Fiji, France, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Singapore, Sweden, the UK and Vietnam.

Next year we already have contracts that will take us to France, Portugal, Spain, the UK, the Netherlands and Vietnam. In March I will also be heading to the 10th International Conference on Managing Fatigue in San Diego, with Karen and Juanita from the ISS team. I will be facilitating the full-day workshop on the practice of Fatigue Management the day before the conference. We will also be presenting two papers within the main program and are also supporting the event by sponsoring the Welcome Reception (so come and have a drink on me!).

Finally, and actually most importantly, I want to say thank you to our clients, and also for your ongoing interest in what we do. The field of Fatigue Management has advanced rapidly in the last 20 years, and with the current explosion in automation and augmentation technologies I am certain it will only speed up from here.

As always, if you have any Fatigue Management requirements you need to discuss, please get in contact with me or anyone in the team. Our office will be closed until January the 10th but emails will continue to be monitored at times before then.

Thank you and cheers, Dr Adam Fletcher

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"For ten years we have been working internationally with Adam and the rest of the ISS team. They have directly supported the development of Zurich’s fatigue risk profiling methods, which measurably improve safety, insurance costs and reputation for our customers."

Grant JensenZurich Chief Risk Engineering Officer, Asia Pacific


"Integrated Safety Support are an essential contributor to our global fatigue management strategy and system. They have provided invaluable content for our training courses, completed advanced statistical analysis of data they helped us collect, and much more. Projects are always delivered professionally, on time, and on budget."

Captain Simon David StewartSafety Director, Mission Critical Services Babcock International Group


"In partnership with Integrated Safety Support, Airservices have built the most globally advanced system for managing human fatigue risks in Air Traffic Control. Our data-driven approach constantly works to maintain and enhance safety, while protecting operational flexibility."

Dr Claire MarrisonManager of Strategy, Systems & Analysis Airservices


"Adam Fletcher has been an invaluable contributor to the IPIECA/IOGP industry Fatigue Management workshops in Brazil, South Africa and Australia. In addition, the ISS team have generously provided insights and experience that significantly contributed to all of our current industry publications on Fatigue Risk Management."

Artemis KostareliManager - Health IPIECA/IOGP