It is known fatigue has been a problem across the maritime industry for many decades. In light of the situation, Thetius and Safetytech Accelerator released a report on fatigue risk management.
As explained, the problem of fatigue is further compounded by the crew change crisis caused by the global pandemic in 2020. Many seafarers have been forced to work without going home for a period of over twelve months.
Increasing our collective knowledge of fatigue is crucial if we are to understand and mitigate the growing risk of an overly fatigued maritime workforce.
…the report marks.
In a recent interview, Mr. Mark Dickinson, General Secretary at Nautilus International, noted that ”Seafarer fatigue represents a ticking time bomb” as the crew change crisis has both exposed and exacerbated issues around this issue. Therefore, tackling fatigue should be on top of industry’s agenda in order to not only to retain trained seafarers but also attract the workers of the future. What is more, last year, in a detailed guidance, AMSA highlighted the importance of keeping both seafarers and the company informed about any fatigue hazards in day-to-day operations.
In the short term, fatigue can reduce cognitive ability and impair decision making, sometimes with fatal consequences. Many of the major disasters of the last 50 years have been linked to fatigue including the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown, the Clapham Junction rail crash, the loss of the Herald of Free Enterprise, the New York Colgan Air crash, and the grounding of the Exxon Valdez.
But fatigue is a silent long term killer too; it has the potential to cause problems with everything from work and social relationships to mental and cardiovascular health and tackling it is critical for the long term welfare and wellbeing of the maritime workforce.
…the report adds.
In an effort to tackle such issues, Thetius and Safetytech Accelerator noted that fatigue risk management has enabled operators in safety-critical industries to increase productivity, while reduce safety and fatigue risks.
Fatigue risk management (FRM) is a methodology that was originally pioneered in the aviation sector, but has since been adopted in other safety critical industries such as road and rail transport, the medical sector, and the energy industry.
Namely, FRM encourages the development of a risk-based approach to managing fatigue that takes into account issues that go beyond simply the number of hours worked.
This includes a range of individual factors such as sleep, diet, general health, the use of drugs or alcohol, and psychological state alongside a range of workplace factors such as shift patterns, leave allowances, equipment design and training.
The reason fatigue risk management is catching on outside of the maritime industry is that it allows for operators to take a more nuanced approach to everything from shift and leave patterns to training and equipment.
What is more, applying fatigue risk management to maritime operations, whether at sea or ashore requires an employer to be able to engage positively with their workforce.
A key part of developing a successful fatigue risk management system is that individuals feel happy to share responsibility for fatigue with their employer and that they feel supported to do so.
For those operators who want to go a step further, the full development and implementation of a fatigue risk management system that is integrated with the safety management system is the best way to fully embrace fatigue risk management principles.
…the report concludes.
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