Integrated Safety Support
Sign up to stay informed

The Fatigue Insider Blog

Sleeping pilots and the need for proactive fatigue management

Sep 11, 2019 ISS Comments (0)

The Federal Aviation Administration in the US is investigating a June incident where a helicopter pilot fell asleep mid-air. The Boston MedFlight pilot was transporting a patient from Martha’s Vineyard to a Boston Hospital for treatment.
 
MedFlight CEO Maura Hughes said in a statement that fatigue played a role, adding that they “are now working with a fatigue management consultant and a safety consultant to review our policies and procedures so that this isolated incident does not happen again.” Isolated or not, fatigue management systems can and should be in place before incidents like these occur, not just reactive in nature.
 
This comes after the recent release of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) on the Australian pilot who fell asleep and overflew his King’s Island destination by 78 kilometres late last year. They found that the pilot had been awake for 24 hours before the incident and had not been able to sleep during a scheduled three-hour rest period before the flight. The report stated his level of fatigue would have affected his performance, even if he had been able to sleep during the rest period.
 
Nat Nagy, who is the ATSB's executive director of transport safety, placed emphasis on the role of both pilots and the airline operators in fatigue management. "Just as it is the pilot's responsibility to use rest periods to get adequate sleep and to remove themselves from duty if they feel fatigued, it is also incumbent on operators to implement policies and create an organisational culture where flight crew can report fatigue and remove themselves from duty in a supportive environment."
 
While in both instances no one was injured and the aircrafts sustained no damage, they signal a greater need for aviation operators to have proactive and robust fatigue management strategies, rather than waiting for an incident to occur.

 

READ MORE
Remembering Dr Rob Lee AO

Aug 28, 2019 ISS Comments (0)

Long-time aviation safety and human factors expert Dr Robert Lee AO sadly passed away in April this year at 74 after a battle with cancer.
 
An authority in aviation psychology and human factors, his professional work has been of great value to flight safety and across various modes of transport worldwide. He will be remembered as a dedicated public servant, a successful international diplomat, a towering figure in his field, as well as a loving family man and lead guitarist in Canberra band ‘Mid-Life Crisis’.
 
Dr Rob Lee was appointed senior psychologist with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in 1976. In 1983 he joined the Bureau of Air Safety Investigation (BASI) as its first human factors specialist. He established and developed BASI’s capability in human factors, systems safety and research and later became director. In 1999 he was appointed director of human factors, systems safety and communications of the newly established Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).
 
A spokesperson from the ATSB said of his leadership, “he transformed the Bureau from a largely reactive investigative agency to an innovative multi-skilled organisation that also concentrated on proactive accident prevention and safety enhancement.”

His contributions to aviation safety are immeasurable, but the millions of Australians who travel on a plane each year do so safely becuase of Dr Rob Lee.

Dr Adam Fletcher was honoured to be invited to memorialise Dr Rob Lee at the Safeskies 2019 conference. He will be speaking at the Dr Rob Lee Memorial & System Safety/Human Factors Panel Session on the 16th of October in Canberra.
 
Dr Adam Fletcher will also be at the PACDEFF 2019 conference in the Gold Coast. On the 3rd of September, he will do a presentation on what we can learn from pilots’ sleep data; as well as a workshop on the 5th of September on designing and implementing a Fatigue Risk Management System.
 
On September 10th, he will chair a session on shiftwork and disease at WTS’ Twenty-Fourth International Symposium on Shiftwork & Working Time in Idaho.

READ MORE
Sleep deprivation: National Guard medical personnel

Aug 21, 2019 ISS Comments (0)

 

A new study in the Journal of Military Psychology of US Air National Guard medical personnel found that service members experienced levels of sleep restriction that resulted in significantly reduced cognitive effectiveness.
 
Part of the interest in studying National Guard personnel came from their unique position as service members who frequently have to transition from civilian to active-duty status, with their jobs often also incorporating shift work and long hours. As a reserve military force, most personnel have full-time civilian jobs outside of their military responsibilities. Depending on the nature of their military responsibilities, they may have to transition between these with very little rest in between, resulting in personnel who are very susceptible to showing up to active-duty already in a state of fatigue.
 
The authors of the study placed emphasis on the research showing that military personnel can often experience even greater fatigue-related risks than those associated with civilian groups like doctors or truck drivers. They attributed this the unique situations they are subjected to where “sleep opportunity is restricted, exacerbated by unique levels of physical and psychological stress, where consequences of error can be life or death.”
 
At the conclusion of the study, they delivered a sleep management workshop for National Guard Medical Personnel and found that members, as well as commanders, were highly receptive to the information provided. They concluded the study by advocating for the “necessity of targeted interventions to reduce fatigue-related harm to service members and the citizens they protect.”

 

Click here to read the full study by Lois James, Denise Smart, Tamara Odom-Maryon, Kimberly A. Honn & Stephanie Rowan.
 

READ MORE
Fatigued cabin crew

Oct 03, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

The airline industry is a growing 24/7 operation, boasting an estimated 39 million flights to be flown worldwide by the end of 2018. Flying passengers across the country, or even across the globe, can create a variety of different challenges for cabin crew, including extended duty periods, highly variable schedules, possible frequent time zone changes, and increased passenger loads.

A study has shown a link between the job characteristics of cabin crew and fatigue. The graph below is an indication of the main work factors that contribute to fatigue amongst cabin crew workers, according to union representatives. Long hours and lack of rest are seen as the main offenders.


 

Other factors that may contribute to cabin crew fatigue include, but are not limited to:

  • Consecutive duty days
  • Length of layovers
  • Timezone changes
  • Delays
  • Availability for breaks
  • Availability of a healthy meal
  • Passenger disruption
  • Aircraft type swaps

In 2016, a bill was pass that requires airlines to provide cabin crew with a minimum 10-hour rest period between shifts, matching the requirement for pilots. The bill also included a requirement for cabin crew to be included in Fatigue Risk Management Systems, which until that point was only applied to pilots.

In Australia, there are currently no civil aviation regulations governing duty times and rest requirements for cabin crew. Their duty limitations are set contractually, and minimum standards are set by the country in which the cabin crew are employed. Cabin crew are our first responders to a safety event - is it time they are included in fatigue regulations?

 

For more information on cabin crew fatigue, contact us via Facebook , LinkedIn , Twitter or comment below.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

READ MORE
Avoiding travel burnout

Sep 19, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

Here at ISS, we are often on the road (or in the air) travelling to meet and work with our clients. As much as our friends and family may be jealous of our frequent travels, we all know full well that it’s not a holiday! For those who travel for work, as much as we may love it, there's is no denying that travelling can be exhausting - we're yet to hear from someone who loves unpacking and repacking!

So what do we do to keep travel burnout at bay?

  • Keep up our healthy habits - Maintaining a healthy diet & increasing our hydration is really important. We often carry protein-packed snacks and keep our fluids up by drinking 1above.
  • Use supplements and equipment to help us with jet lag - we're big on using things such as melatonin, personal humidifier masks and light therapy glasses so we can hit the ground running without jet lag hitting us too hard.
  • Exercise - We always pack our joggers! It's good to get out and get some fresh air and vitamin D. This also really helps with jet lag.
  • Attempt to become a local - Before we head to our new destination, we like to research things like a go-to coffee shop, the closest gym and best places to work from remotely. This helps to feel more at home, without having to scramble to find things once we arrive. 
  • Plan our flights - Where possible, we always try to travel the most direct route. It can be very tiring having multiple and/or long layovers.
  • Take a break - It's really important to get some downtime, especially with friends and family, to feel refreshed and ready to go.
For more information on avoiding fatigue while travelling, click on the links below to some of our previous blog posts, contact us via Facebook , LinkedIn , Twitter or comment below.

Around the world in... 52 hours?

Melatonin - should you use it?

Beware of the dark side: using light to reduce jet lag

High & dry: keeping hydrated while flying

READ MORE
Ground Control to Sleepy Tom

Aug 08, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

A 180-day trip to Mars is a tiring feat in itself, but the distance and duration of the journey alone aren’t the only challenges that scientists are currently investigating. Think of all the food, water and entertainment required for the crew during that time – if this could be reduced, we could be one step closer to Mars.

The answer? Putting the crew into a state of torpor. Torpor is essentially a state of deep sleep, quite like a human form of hibernation, where the body’s core temperature is reduced (not frozen).

Scientists are working on achieving a successful state of torpor by extending the current and evolving medical practice of Therapeutic Hypothermia (TH). TH is currently used for the treatment of various traumatic injuries by lowering a patient's body temperature by 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. This causes their metabolism to reduce significantly and the body to enter an unconscious state.

Currently, TH can be maintained for a maximum period of 14 days, but scientist are now investigating the possibility of it being used for much longer periods.

Click here for more information on Torpor, or alternatively contact us via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or comment below

 

READ MORE
The age of automation

Mar 07, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

The age of automation is upon us. Whether you like it or not, your car will eventually be driving you home from work and your fridge will be ordering avocados from the store because it knows Monday is Mexican night and your tacos must have guacamole!

The advancements in artificial intelligence, robotics, internet technologies and cloud computing are increasing at a rapid rate. In aviation, automation technology has in fact been around for decades and was introduced to increase precision and economy of operations while reducing pilot workload and training requirements. The aim was not to replace the pilot but to reduce the number of human-related errors.

Automation developments are creating workplaces of the future in which people have more time to think and do, while devices run and gather data to complete jobs in quicker time than originally thought possible. Automation is bringing significant advantages in safety and productivity for organisations.

For more information on automation, contact us via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or comment below. 

READ MORE
1 2 3