Sleep Deprivation is Greater Risk for Pilots and Train Operators


The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is reporting that a new poll about the role of sleepiness and errors should serve as a "wake up call" for the transportation industry.

For the first time, the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) asked transportation professionals about their sleep habits. Close to 25 percent of pilots and train operators admit that their performance is affected at least once a week by sleepiness. Moreover, one in five pilots acknowledge a serious error, and one in six train operators and truck drivers report that sleepiness has led to a near miss.  [WCx]
The release of the survey results coincided with National Sleep Awareness Week in early March and the start of daylight savings time.
The NTSB says that many of the accidents it has investigated have been caused by fatigue.
"While alcohol is often associated with impairment, operating a vehicle while fatigued can be just as deadly," commented NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman. "As we move the clocks forward, transportation operators need to plan for adequate sleep on Sunday night and every other night to safeguard the travelling public.
"Inadequate sleep puts lives at risk – we see this over and over in our accident investigations.  Improving the quantity and quality of sleep can improve safety and ultimately save lives."
Managing human fatigue has been on the NTSB's Most Wanted List of transportation safety improvements since the list was first created in 1990. [WCx]
As a result of accident investigations, the Safety Board has issued nearly 200 fatigue-related recommendations to address diverse areas including: hours of service requirements, scheduling policies, education and training, diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders, research, and vehicle technologies. 

Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. He is an editor and contributor to Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact:







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