Identification of Fatigue Countermeasures for the Short Line Railroad Industry Phase 1 & 2
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Identification of Fatigue Countermeasures for the Short Line Railroad Industry Phase 1 & 2

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    • Abstract:
      The purpose of the initial project was to establish a baseline for the evaluation of proposed fatigue mitigation efforts, to demonstrate the utilization of measures of sleep and fatigue, and to gather initial data for comparison to other previous studies. Results demonstrated that there was enough data to establish a baseline and to evaluate existing work schedules using the fatigue models approved by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). Using the FRA approved modeling tool, a representative sample of work schedules were analyzed for likelihood of risk for fatigue related accidents using FRA recommended fatigue models. The results indicate that typical day time schedules have the least risk of fatigue. Standard night shifts working from 11 pm to 6 am had the greatest risk of fatigue. More importantly, by modifying the work schedules such that strategic naps were included in the work schedule on a regular basis, the models indicate that there is a significant reduction in fatigue risk that falls below or closely approximates the goal of ensuring that the work schedule does not “exceed the fatigue threshold more than 20 percent of the work time” recommended by FRA. The two main fatigue countermeasures shown to be most effective were: (1) Increasing the amount of sleep obtained between shifts. (2) Instituting a scheduled workplace nap of either 60 or 90 minutes in length. To reduce the accident risk associated with fatigue, the following countermeasures were considered most feasible: (1) Use of on-duty naps to offset the negative impact of midnight hours; (2) Increase in the amount of off-duty sleep time; (3) Increase the amount of on-duty supervision to recognize fatigue; (4) Alteration of the start and end time of work shifts to avoid circadian rhythms; and (5) Decrease the number of hours worked.
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