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
Burnout and Fast-Food workers: How is Shift Work Contributing to Fatigue?

Jul 24, 2019 ISS Comments (0)

With the discussion of burnout growing, it's not surprising that fast-food workers are among those facing increased stress and fatigue due to their jobs.

Emily Guendelsberger, author of On the Clock: What Low-Wage Work Did to Me and How It Drives America Insane, recently wrote an article for Vox illuminating some of the new pressures that fast-food workers face; among them being scheduling and understaffing practices that contribute to a highly stressful and sometimes dangerous work environment.
 
Algorithms that use recent sales data to predict how much business to expect every hour of the week often determine worker’s schedules. This means that not only are workers’ schedules different week to week, but they may not receive a schedule until a day before it goes into effect. Guendelsberger also highlights scheduling practices like the “clopen”, where workers have back-to-back shifts closing late and opening early the next morning with only a few hours to sleep in between.
 
We know that rotating shift workers often experience a myriad of fatigue-related health and productivity issues. When these are combined with consistent understaffing and a stressful work environment, it not only creates a situation ripe for workplace accidents but also undermines the dignity of work.
 
While it may be impossible to eliminate shift work in the fast-food industry, encouraging the major players to develop fatigue management strategies that would improve the wellbeing of their employees would be the first step in decreasing burnout in fast-food workers.

 

 

 

 

 

READ MORE
Is your clock running on time?

Mar 20, 2019 ISS Comments (0)

Here at ISS, we’re often on the road seeing clients. One thing we always pack is our exercise gear. Squeezing in a daily workout is a top priority, especially if we are overseas. We feel it helps with counteracting any jet lag we may have. And now, we have research to back us up!

A recent study has found that exercise can shift our circadian rhythm, with the direction and amount of this effect depending on the time of day or night in which we exercise.

The study involved examining exercise and melatonin levels in 101 participants for up to five and a half days. It was found that exercising at 0700 or between 1300 & 1600 advanced the body clock to an earlier time, and exercising between 1900 & 2200 delayed the body clock to a later time.

So if you’re looking to help minimise your jet lag, or even get yourself back in sync after a block of shift, get those running shoes on at those specified times!

 

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


 

 

READ MORE
Is fatigue costing your business?

Mar 06, 2019 ISS Comments (0)

 

Fatigue can be a hidden risk in the workplace, costing businesses millions of dollars a year. According to the Sleep Health Foundation, it is estimated that 7.4 million Australian adults do not regularly get the sleep they need, resulting in productivity losses of $17.9 billion.

Lack of sleep significantly reduces productivity within the workplace through absenteeism, presenteeism and decreased engagement. This also increases the risk of errors and injury in the workplace.

Fatigue can impact those who:

  • Sleep fewer hours than recommended (due to work and/or personal factors)
  • Shift work
  • Frequently work extended hours
  • Travel for work
  • Work multiple jobs

Things you can do to reduce the likelihood of fatigue in the workplace include:

For more information on fatigue in the workplace, contact us via Facebook , LinkedIn , Twitter or comment below.
 


 

READ MORE
Fatigue Risk Management in EMS

Oct 31, 2018 ISS Comments (0)

Fatigue continues to be a widespread problem for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel. Both mental and physical fatigue can affect EMS personnel, due to the intensity of the job and working shifts, which we know disrupts normal patterns of sleep and circadian rhythms. Studies have found significantly higher levels of fatigue and mental health issues amongst paramedics, as well as significantly poorer sleep quality compared to other industries.

Near misses and accidents involving EMS personnel, where fatigue was a contributing factor, continue to occur. Earlier this year, an Emergency Medical Technician in the USA was killed when the technician driving the ambulance fell asleep at the wheel, colliding into another vehicle.

Evidence-based Guidelines for Fatigue Risk Management in EMS were recently published in the Prehospital Emergency Care journal recommend:

  • The use of fatigue surveys to measure and monitor fatigue in EMS personnel
  • Shifts to be shorter than 24 hours in duration
  • Access to caffeine as a fatigue countermeasure
  • The opportunity to nap while on duty in order to mitigate fatigue
  • Education and training on fatigue-related risks
 
The guidelines also remind us that fatigue management is a shared responsibility between EMS personnel and employers.

For more information on fatigue risk management in EMS, contact us via Facebook , LinkedIn , Twitter or comment below.


 
READ MORE
1 2 3