Fatigue – from the roads to the skies

Whether we’re sitting at a desk, working in a factory, driving trucks or even flying airplanes, fatigue can sneak up on us. And fatigue can lead to error. But it’s important to remember that fatigue can be managed. Getting satisfactory sleep and trying to build a routine in your day-to-day activities is the best way to fight and hopefully diminish fatigue.

As I was preparing to fly last week, I began thinking about an article I’d read on pilot fatigue. Reading about fatigue in the workplace, and specifically regarding driver and pilot fatigue, is not necessarily something you want to have on your mind when preparing to fly.

How would you feel climbing into a vehicle or even jumping aboard a plane that had a driver/pilot who had not been getting adequate sleep? If you’re like me, that doesn’t sound very comforting at all.

It’s scary to hear the numbers:

  • At least 100,000 police-reported crashes annually are due to driver fatigue
  • Crashes from driver fatigue cause approximately 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries each year
  • 1 in 5 pilots say sleepiness has caused a serious error on the job
  • 1 in 4 pilots say that being sleepy affects job performance at least once a week

A few things leading to fatigue:

  • Not getting adequate sleep
  • Fluctuating work schedules
  • Working an average of 10+ hours per shift
  • Inadequate time for pilots between flights for rest

We need rest and breaks to stay alert and be aware when flying or driving. Sleepiness will lead to slower reaction times, problems processing information, and decreased attention leading to more human error.

Millions of drivers take to the road each day as part of their job. Training your employees on fatigue can help identify symptoms to watch out for and equip them with ways to fight this dangerous condition.