Fatigue and Rail

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JK
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Fatigue and Rail

Postby JK » Wed Nov 02, 2016 4:45 am

Interesting email I received today. I'm a long time away from the ships, but it was not uncommon to work 18-20 hour days when I was at sea. I was dangerous when I was that tired, no doubt about it. Stupid mistakes and a lot of dropped equipment. At least the tanks I overflowed were water :shock: but it was merely luck.

FATIGUE FACTS
A Newsletter by Clinton Marquardt - Human Fatigue Specialist

TSB Watchlist says Fatigue is a Problem for the Freight Rail Industry
The TSB 2016 Watchlist has been released and fatigue in freight rail is a top concern. The TSB has a list of 23 investigations where fatigue was a contributing factor or a risk for the accident. I checked the list, and I am modestly proud to say that I worked on many of these investigations during my tenure with the TSB. It’s nice to see that the TSB’s efforts have paid off and that they have enough data to finally make sure that fatigue gets the attention it deserves.

Here is the link to the Rail Fatigue Watchlist justification:
http://tsb-bst.gc.ca/eng/surveillance-watchlist/rail/2016/rail-04.asp.
While there is still a lot of work to do, the transportation industry is on the right track. There are regulations and guidelines to reduce fatigue related risks and most of the companies understand that safety can be compromised by impairments due to fatigue. Some of the more progressive companies even understand that there are great rewards to reducing fatigue and ensuring that employees sleep well.

A research group from Singapore found that people who don’t sleep enough waste more time surfing the internet at work. This cyberloafing was also a big past time for people who did not sleep well. The take away here is that if you want employees to use their time at work efficiently, you should find ways to help them sleep more and better.

One of the causes of sleep loss and poor sleep is insomnia. One in 4, that’s 25% of the workforce has experienced insomnia and it is costing the US $63.2 billion dollars a year in lost productivity. Cyberloafing can be a costly past time!

You might think that people with insomnia would just call in sick after a bad night and that sick leave would be the main contributor to the $63 billion. While people with sleep problems do call in sick, they also pull themselves out of bed and report for work just to make sure they get paid. But at work they are not as productive as their well-rested colleagues. They are so tired that every insomniac costs their employer 7.8 days of lost productivity every year. If you average that out, it is about $2,280 per insomniac per year in lost productivity.

Identifying the problematic sleepers in your workplace can be challenging. Asking them to come forward so you can help them isn’t likely to happen. Most people are not comfortable openly reporting their health concerns to employers. Instead, I suggest raising awareness through approaches like formal fatigue training, informal educational sessions and material distributed throughout your workplace. Consider handing out sleep awareness questionnaires that get people thinking about their own sleep and whether it needs to be improved. I have a “sleep problem screening tool” that suits this purpose and I would be happy to share it. Send me a note if you would like it. clintm@sleepanddreams.com

mentatblur
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Re: Fatigue and Rail

Postby mentatblur » Wed Nov 02, 2016 3:48 pm

I agree. I'm pretty sure that's just part of sailing and I'm not sure how we'd ever get around those occasional long days. I don't think they're that bad at all until they become a serial problem. I think fatigue is a real issue and if they really cared about safety, there wouldn't be a push for smaller more over worked crews. 6 hours on 6 hours off for 6 weeks is really stupid when you add OT/maintenance hours in there.

On the other hand, I'd love to see how they came up with lose productivity figures and how they measure them and insomniacs in general. It also seems plausible that cyberloafing and insomnia could be related but in the other direction...loafing itself contributing to insomnia. How productive do we really need to be? In my experience, this industry is full of "hurry up and wait" moments...pushing people to meet deadlines that don't make a difference in the end game. Technology also has made many jobs semi or completely automated, regulating humans to being trained monkeys with little critical thought (perhaps a tad cynical, but a real argument can be made), causing a weird kind of boredom and anxiety, which also could cause issues with insomnia. And more down time at work to spend cyberloafing. What a deadly cycle, dun dun dun. People text and drive, that is crazy too!

Finally, the author of this article is a professional seminar giver/motivator. Pay me lots of money to tell you obvious things using big words, slide shows and graphs using cherry picked data. "Instead, I suggest raising awareness through approaches like formal fatigue training, informal educational sessions and material distributed throughout your workplace. Consider handing out sleep awareness questionnaires that get people thinking about their own sleep and whether it needs to be improved." It's obvious information that doesn't need advertising. Consider the productivity lost to listening to some asshole like this waste your time at work because some corporate person was convinced it was a good idea. Think of the solution, not the problem, right? So what...reduce work loads and hire more staff right? Shorten the work week/day? But but but lost potential gdp/growth/investment/mumbo jumbo. lol dream on. We don't need questionnaires, we need political action and social awareness

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JK
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Re: Fatigue and Rail

Postby JK » Thu Nov 03, 2016 1:38 am

Excellent post.
One of my co-workers CEs literally moans about the critical thought lack in his new engineers. They are cgood when everything is fine and strong on the IT end, but to actually analyze a failure they are not very good. Gone is the days when a CE wandered around in slippers, he's in a boiler suit all day.
Monitoring fatigue is rather like catching the bull when it's out of the field. You have tired guys in the middle of the N Atlantic because of rough weather , there's not much that can be done about it.. it's along the lines of flu onboard, you still crawl out of the rack and go to the MCR because there's no one else and the guy down there is just as bad.

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D Winsor
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Re: Fatigue and Rail

Postby D Winsor » Thu Nov 03, 2016 6:07 am

I agree with you metalblur by referring the author of the report as a professional seminar giver/motivator. These guys drive me nuts sometimes especially those who know very little about how the marine industry works because usually the first words out of their mouths is "I don't know you do what you do but I'm going to show you how to do it better". Which kind of begs the question "If the person about lecture me doesn't know what we do and how we do it, what makes them think they can tell us how to do it better?" and that is usually my cue to shift into neutral and deal with a Fatigue Issue by taking a nap.

With respect to Fatigue on ships you would no believe the times I found myself in a big pile of it, especially after more stringent scrutiny of mandatory hours of rest came into effect, for shutting down cargo operations. While in the minds of Shore Types I "Caused an unnecessary ship delay due to my failure to properly manage my crew work hours" because I was unable to predict the future and fore see issues outside my control. Like when a shore reception facility shuts down for 5 minutes, 12 hours later they are still shut down. In the meantime every 45 min to an hour they keep telling you that they will be able to restart in 10 minutes only to call back 5 minutes later to tell you that it's going to be "A little longer'"
Troubleshooting 101 "Don't over think it - K.I.S.S. it"

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JollyJack
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Re: Fatigue and Rail

Postby JollyJack » Sun Nov 06, 2016 7:43 pm

ILO Convention says that 16 hours are the most you can work per day and one rest period must be at least 6 hours. Canada Shipping Act says 18 hours.
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mentatblur
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Re: Fatigue and Rail

Postby mentatblur » Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:06 am

We go over 16-18 hours sometimes. We almost never get 6 hours of rest, even after a crazy day. This last week was really crazy. If I complain I will lose my job (more accurately, told to "think about moving on")... I currently work on board harbour tugs, but with a crazy on call system...the same company in Quebec doesn't have this system for the same shipboard position...further more our tugs here don't even have accommodations...so I'm not sure how they can get away with this. At the same time people are not being paid what they were promised (after bringing in a (useless) union), not receiving back pay as promised, not receiving vacation pay when requested...not receiving promised benefits... I haven't quit because now I'm older and I need the sea time (which I hope I don't get screwed for...).

What would you do? I don't really want to complain to everyone and start a revolt. I love sailing and I love my job, but I definitely am getting screwed money wise..other crew members have it even worse. I also don't want to just abandon my crew mid way through the season. People always harp about safety, but what is safe about being the only engineer on board and truly exhausted...reaction time is obviously not the same anymore. I guess the adrenaline will kick in eh...

Have any of you had a sailing job with a probation period such that they don't count your time off? For example, 2 weeks on, 1 week off, 3 month probation. Does being "on call" serve as a loophole to all of this? My rotation is similar, except my "time off" I'm still on call technically, just least likely to be called. HR is trying to tell me that days I didn't sail on the tug don't count toward the 3 months, in so many words (unfortunately I don't even get to speak directly to HR). Sounds wrong to me...on land for a 3 month probation, it's not like they don't count the weekends/days off towards the 3 months.

This is my first tug job, so maybe this is common procedure in this world?
Sorry if I'm slightly off topic.

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D Winsor
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Re: Fatigue and Rail

Postby D Winsor » Mon Nov 07, 2016 11:54 am

JollyJack wrote:ILO Convention says that 16 hours are the most you can work per day and one rest period must be at least 6 hours. Canada Shipping Act says 18 hours.


Yes and isn't changes in the ILO Convention supposed to reduce that further to 14 hours soon
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