Rail Industry

Managing human factor & fatigue risk in the railway industry presents unique challenges:

  1. Railways operate 24/7 to meet customer needs, maximising use of infrastructure, rolling stock and investment.
  2. Safety-critical railway positions require highly developed cognitive skills and constant attentiveness. Inattentiveness compounded by fatigue can lead to accidents.
  3. A Swedish study of over 1,000 drivers found that night/early morning work associated with shortened sleep (approximately 4-5 hours) caused extreme fatigue and on-duty microsleeps. (Åkerstedt et al, 1995)
  4. Reduced driver alertness and attentiveness can impair train handling. US study correlating fuel-efficient train handling with fatigue levels found ability to apply training diminished with increased fatigue, and resulted in increased fuel consumption.

FMS is uniquely qualified to identify and address railway-based fatigue risks to enhance safety, performance and quality of service. We have the know-how and industry experience to deliver customised fatigue management solutions for rail clients.

FMS Rail Advisory & Consulting Services

Human Factor & Fatigue Risk Assessments Including:

I. Job-Specific Employee Attentiveness & Alertness Risk Factor Assessment
    (Human-Machine Interface of Work Environment on Performance)

Analyse interaction of task & work load, work environment and roster design on employee cognitive processes, data processing, decision-making, task planning/execution and impact on stress, safety and performance

Recommend counterbalancing strategies (work environment, shift work design & training/instruction) to sustain attentiveness, work efficiency and productivity. Our systematic structured methodology delivers comprehensive & customised findings & recommendations.

II. Broad Organisational Human Factor & Fatigue Risk Assessment

Conduct system and scenario analysis, staff interviews, site observation and key performance indicator analysis, identifying interaction of roster design, environment/conditions, practices/ policies & shift work lifestyle on performance, attentiveness, stress & accident risk

Recommendation of customised risk management actions, transforming risks into productivity and safety improvements

III. SPAD Assessment

Sustaining attentiveness and situational awareness is a challenge confronting transport operators, from pilots to train drivers. Sedentary and routine work causing monotony, compounded by shift work fatigue, can compromise vigilance.

Train driver research confirms the interaction of monotony and fatigue on attentiveness including:

  • Japanese study analysing near-accidents/accidents found 17% were fatigue related, 79% of which occurred between midnight and 6 a.m. and occurred while driving along monotonous stretches of track. (Kogi & Ohta, 1975)
  • Australian study of 100 accidents/near-accidents concluded the most significant causal factor was lack of alertness related to a high degree of monotony. (Edkins & Pollock, 1997)

Shift work based fatigue compounds attentiveness risk. Work requiring sustained vigilance and carried out in a monotonous environment, is most sensitive to fatigue and vigilance loss.

Work and shift design are core elements of human factor based SPAD precursor conditions.

Typical 'vigilance' technology does not detect physiologically based attentiveness/alertness lapses. Drivers can pre-empt their activation, even at high levels of drowsiness.

FMS will assess interaction of work organisation/environment and scheduling on attentiveness, alertness and performance and recommend practices promoting attentiveness managing fatigue risk.

IV. Roster Fatigue Risk Assessment

Analyse and quantify fatigue risk of current rosters via:

  1. FMS’ specialised fatigue risk software quantifying fatigue risk
  2. Expertise in interaction of work design on alertness, identifying roster patterns creating fatigue
  3. Applying 1 and 2, design biocompatible roster (alertness promoting roster), quantify bio-roster & actual roster risk, confirm bio-roster fatigue management capability

Review bio-roster options and systematic installation actions

Win-Win Biocompatible Railway Rosters

Designing train crew rosters, matching different trains operating at a variety of speeds/distances, results in complexity of shift patterns not found in non-railway rosters.

FMS’ bio-rosters proactively manage fatigue within predictable & acceptable thresholds, protect operations &, reflect employee quality of life - work/rest pattern preferences - securing employee endorsement of bio-rosters - to deliver a win-win outcome. Bio-rosters advance fatigue management beyond limitations of fatigue index tools, which only reactively flag roster fatigue.

Applying bio-roster design expertise, specialised fatigue risk software and systematic bio-roster delivery actions FMS:

  • Delivers win-win bio-rosters addressing unnecessary roster fatigue risk exposure
  • Documents for managers & employees any bio-roster residual shift-specific fatigue zones to manage fatigue
  • Equips employees with skills to manage residual fatigue
  • Conducts comparative fatigue risk analysis of current rosters and bio-rosters documenting substantial fatigue risk reduction
  • Facilitates shift worker input on roster and work condition fatigue challenges and experiences, helping design bio-rosters targeting real fatigue risk
  • Provides FMS bio-roster installation and optimisation support
  • Reviews bio-roster principles to help clients’ self-sufficient (post bio-roster installation) roster adjustment

FMS’ bio-rosters help:

  • Protect operational requirements
  • Enhance driver alertness and quality of life
  • Manage unnecessary fatigue risk
  • Promote driver buy-in and ownership of bio-rosters installed

FMS’ Managing Director is recognised as an authority in implementing fatigue management programs in complex railway settings. His rail consulting includes:

  • Assessing train driver fatigue risk across British Rail
  • Project Manager of British Rail’s Train Driver Alertness Programme
  • Conducting fatigue assessments of rosters and work design for UK, South African, Irish and North American freight and passenger railways, infrastructure maintenance companies and subway operations

FMS can identify your operational and roster based fatigue risk, recommend and install customised human factor & fatigue risk solutions including alertness promoting biocompatible rosters to advance due diligence, safety and performance objectives.