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S3C13 - FATIGUE MANAGEMENT AND DUTY/REST PERIODS

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

FATIGUE MANAGEMENT

Fatigue Determinants

Identification of Fatigue

Reducing the Effects of Fatigue

DUTY AND REST PERIODS

Duty Period

Embarked Operations

Duty/Rest Period

Duty/Rest Period Extension/Reduction

Duty/Rest Schedule

ETHICAL AND LEGAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF ADF MANAGERS IN RESPECT WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY

INTRODUCTION

1. All supervisors are accountable for the safety and integrity of maintenance tasks for which they are responsible. Fatigue is a state of tiredness or weariness, which impairs the ability of an individual to continue performing tasks safely and correctly. The ADF has a duty of care to ensure maintenance personnel work in a safe environment, free from unacceptable hazards, including fatigue. This chapter provides general information on fatigue management and specifies requirements for working outside normal duty periods.

2. The informed and active management of fatigue can reduce errors and prevent safety incidents and accidents. Fatigue in Defence cannot always be avoided, but it can always be managed. Detailed information regarding the management of fatigue is contained within WHS Manual Vol 2 Part 2 Chap 10 - Fatigue Management and includes, but is not limited to:

  1. roles and responsibilities for:
    1. commanders, managers and supervisors
    2. individual Defence personnel.
  2. resources for fatigue management and awareness training
  3. outline of approach for fatigue risk management
  4. fatigue likelihood calculations work sheet
  5. guideline for rostering duty/shift periods.

3. This chapter prescribes the Approved Maintenance Organisation responsibilities to effectively manage fatigue.

FATIGUE MANAGEMENT

4. Managing fatigue requires an understanding of fatigue determinants, strategies for managing fatigue, identification of fatigue at an early stage and strategies to reduce the effects of fatigue.

Fatigue Determinants

5. Four significant determinants of fatigue are:

  1. time continuously awake
  2. the time of day
  3. any fatigue prior to the commencement of duty
  4. sleep debt or cumulative fatigue.

6. Time Continuously Awake. After 17 hours continuously awake, the performance of an individual will decrease to a level equivalent to a blood alcohol level concentration of 0.05 of one percent (1%). This does not take into account the effects of other fatigue determinants, such as temperature extremes, noise and cognitive workload that may serve to worsen the experience of fatigue.

7. Time of Day. The consistency and effectiveness with which a task is completed during a day shift is higher than during a night shift. In addition, fatigue recovery during a night off-duty period is considerably more efficient than recovery during a day off-duty period. The lowest level of function (alertness, performance and mood) occurs between 0300 h and 0600 h. A less marked but significant increase in sleepiness also occurs between 1500 h and 1700 h regardless of whether or not a meal has been taken. The greatest relative frequency of incidents occurs on night shift between 0200 h and 0400 h. During these times, extra vigilance against fatigue is required by all personnel.

8. Fatigue Prior to Duty. Seven to eight hours sleep is required in order for personnel to cope with ordinary daily work demands. Failure to meet this need may lead to acute fatigue and consequently performance will deteriorate as on-duty time increases, especially on tasks requiring reasoning and judgement.

9. Following day duty, individuals are to be provided with enough time off to allow for eight hours sleep. Following night duty, individuals will require extra time off-duty because of the relative inefficiency of sleeping during the day. If practicable, individuals are not to be required to attend meetings or complete administrative activities during their off-duty time.

10. Sleep Debt or Cumulative Fatigue. Although the loss of a small amount of sleep on a single night may not have a significant effect on performance, sleep loss is cumulative and should it continue for several nights, it will build into a significant sleep debt. The repeated loss of a small amount of sleep each night over an extended period of time will have a significant affect on performance. To manage the fact that it is not always possible for individuals to get all the sleep that they require every night, they must be offered periodic opportunities to recover sleep loss.

Identification of Fatigue

11. Supervisors are to continuously monitor personnel and be able to recognise the onset of fatigue. The first abilities to be compromised by fatigue are those related to cognitive processing, decision-making and judgement. Unfortunately, these are the very abilities that come into play when making safety related maintenance decisions.

12. The most common signs that personnel exhibit which may indicate the onset of fatigue are:

  1. lack of situational awareness
  2. lack of judgement and reasoning
  3. distraction and reduced ability to concentrate
  4. complacency and acceptance of lower performance standards than normal
  5. irritability and lack of communication, teamwork and assertiveness
  6. basic mistakes and clumsiness.

Reducing the Effects of Fatigue

13. Reducing the effects of fatigue normally does not require the cessation of work at the onset of fatigue. Strategies that can be employed to reduce the effects of fatigue and maintain an acceptable risk level include:

  1. taking a short break away from the workplace
  2. increasing maintenance checks and inspections
  3. increasing supervision levels
  4. rotation of tasks
  5. employing additional personnel, including non-technical personnel to perform menial tasks.

14. Ultimately, if the risk posed by fatigue becomes unacceptable, maintenance is to cease and the availability of other personnel to complete the tasks is to be investigated. If other personnel are unavailable, the maintenance requirement and associated implications, eg cancelling a mission, must be considered.

DUTY AND REST PERIODS

Duty Period

15. Duty periods begin when personnel are required to report for duty, regardless of the activity being undertaken. The nature of transits and any other activities whilst on duty are to be factored into risk assessments conducted when carrying out authorisations to exceed normal duty periods.

Embarked Operations

16. Maintenance personnel duty/rest period procedures for embarked operations are detailed within ABR 5150—RAN Aviation Instructions.

Duty/Rest Period

17. The parameters in Table 13–1 are prescribed for normal operations. After a rest period, personnel must be able to commence duty in a fit and rested state. After the maximum number of consecutive duty days, a rest period of at least 36 hours is to be provided.

Duty/Rest Period Extension/Reduction

NOTE

The decision to extend duty periods and/or decrease rest periods are not to be taken lightly, personnel authorising these extensions/decreases are to consider all ramifications of such authorisations.

All authorisations to extend duty periods and/or decrease rest periods are to be recorded and auditable, eg record of conversation in the shift log.

18. On occasions, maintenance operations outside normal planning limits may be required, necessitating either an extension of the duty period or a reduction in the rest period. Tables 13–2, 13–3, and 13–4 provide the minimum authority levels required for operating outside of Table 13–1. In all cases, aspects of fatigue management and Work Health and Safety (WHS) must be considered. Approvals, in accordance with Tables 13–2, 13–3 or 13–4, must be gained prior to deviation from the duty periods specified in Table 13–1. Commanding Officers must be advised of all deviations from the duty periods in Table 13–1.

Duty/Rest Schedule

19. Rest Period Activity. Maintenance personnel are responsible for the management of their activity during the rest period to ensure that the objectives of the rest period are met and fatigue is minimised. Maintenance personnel are also to ensure that they report for duty with a blood alcohol level of zero and without the physical or physiological effects of alcohol consumption.

20. Rosters. The parameters at Table 13–1 apply for all shift operations, irrespective of the number of shifts operated. Should the length of deployed operations provide an opportunity for shift rotation, shift patterns are to rotate forward, with all shifts provided with the maximum rest period between duties.

21. Supervisors Responsibilities. Regardless of whether personnel are working within the requirements of this chapter, should any supervisor believe or be informed that the safety or integrity of maintenance may be compromised by fatigue, the supervisor has a responsibility to act immediately and remove effected personnel from the work environment.

22. Maintenance operations are a team effort. All supervisors are to be aware that fatigue affects judgement, and they have a responsibility to monitor the fatigue levels of personnel, as well as other supervisors. When considering risk and deciding a course of action to prevent an accident or incident, eg compromise of maintenance integrity versus the cost of such action, supervisors are to be aware that operational considerations are not to be regarded as the paramount consideration during peacetime operations.

Table 13-1 Normal Duty Periods

Normal Duty Period

12 hours

Normal Rest Period

12 hours

Maximum Number of Consecutive Days

5 days

Table 13-2 Authority for Duty Period Extension

Duty Period (hours)

Minimum Authority

From 12 to 16 hours

Senior Maintenance Manager (SMM) or delegate, Commanding Officer (CO) delegate eg Detachment Commander

More than 16 hours

CO or delegate eg Detachment Commander

Table 13-3 Authority for Rest Period Reductions

Rest Period (hours) Reduction

Minimum Authority

From 12 to 8 hours

SMM or delegate, CO delegate eg Detachment Commander

From 8 to 0 hours

CO

Table 13-4 Authority to Increase Consecutive Days Worked

Increase to Consecutive Days Worked

Minimum Authority

From 5 to 12 days

SMM or delegate

More than 12 days

CO or delegate eg Detachment Commander

ETHICAL AND LEGAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF ADF MANAGERS IN RESPECT WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY

23. The ADF is committed to the provision of a safe and healthy work environment for all ADF personnel. The WHS Act applies to all Defence personnel.

24. The WHS Act imposes on the Commonwealth, as the employer, and its employees both a general duty of care and specific obligations in respect of workplace health and safety. The central obligation of the WHS Act is a codification of the employer’s common law duty of care. All supervisors and managers have a responsibility to provide safe premises, safe systems of work, competent staff, effective training, clear instructions and competent supervision.

25. WHS responsibility applies to situations which are identifiable, foreseeable or preventable, a description which includes shift work conditions where there is likelihood that fatigue caused by excessive work hours may increase the risk of an incident or accident. This applies not only to the workplace, but also an accident or incident occurring outside the workplace which may be attributable to excessive working hours, eg returning to accommodation or home after cessation of duty.

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