Fatigue Stress Pressure - PowerPoint Presentation

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Slide 1

Fatigue Stress Pressure

[Quebec aeronautic training centre]

Presented by: Patrick Kessler
Transport Canada Inspector
System Safety

Slide 2

Let’s suppose that a 22 year-old pilot has just been hired.

What issues will he/she face?

  • Salary

  • Work Schedule

  • Experience

  • Career goals

  • Personal life

  • Competition with colleagues

Slide 3

Human Factors

  • Fatigue and counteractive measures

  • Stress

  • Pressure

Speaker's Notes

This is not a course on the regulations. Anyone can give you a legal timeframe which will put you in a vegetative state within two weeks. Nothing about human nature or physiology indicates that we are not running any risk at 13 hours 59 minutes but our faculties risk being affected by fatigue at 14 hours and 1 minute.

Fatigue is a part of life and of the profession that we have chosen. Today I hope to make you aware of how fatigue compromises your performance and provide you with some strategies that will help you manage it or counteract its negative effects.

(This is the basic NASA-AMES course on fatigue management. This course is definitely more detailed than what you’ll need for the majority of CRM courses. I have skipped many of the slides of this presentation, but I have included them so that you can use them depending on your audience or in other courses, if you wish.)



Slide 4




  • Understand that fatigue and stress can prevent us from performing our duties.

  • Find ways of reducing our fatigue and stress levels.

  • Find ways of dealing with fatigue and stress in an operational manner.

Slide 5

Definition of fatigue

Fatigue refers to a decrease in productivity and a general lack of desire to work.

(Grandjean, 1988)
(Human Factors Journal, 1994)

Speaker's Notes

This definition is simply to ensure that we all know that fatigue relates to performance and that it is not always synonymous with lack of sleep.

Public perception (because of the press) is that sleep is the only element that causes fatigue and a decrease in human performance. This sleep model is much too simple for explaining the many influences on human performance as a whole.



Slide 6




Lack of sleep:

  • Cumulative;

  • The need to sleep.

Circadian rhythm:

  • Physiological and behavioural process;

  • Ups and downs.


Speaker's Notes

Sleep: essential to the recuperation from physical fatigue and nervous tension accumulated during the day, occupies a third of our lives. By the age of 60, you will have slept 20 years and dreamed 5 years. Our body operates on a cycle day and night. During the day, all of us regularly go from alert states to sleepy states, from high energy to low energy periods. These cycles repeat themselves during the night, as many times as our bodies require in order to recuperate. A sleep cycle lasts from 1.5 to 2 hours. A night is therefore a succession of 4 to 5 sleep cycles. During our sleep, major changes occur in the functioning of our bodies: in our brain activity, breathing, heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. Everything changes.

  • At first our sleep is light. Our brain activity slows down but we are still very responsive to noise and to anything which can disturb our sleep. This type of sleep is called light slow wave sleep.

  • Then we progressively cut ourselves off more and more from the outside world. Our brain activity slows down further. This is called deep slow wave sleep. This sleep is crucial to recuperation from our physical fatigue.

  • Around every 90 minutes, a special type of sleep occurs called REM sleep. Our brain activity is intense during this time, but our sleep is very deep and our body is almost totally paralysed. This is when we dream and when we recuperate from all of the nervous tension of the previous day. The end of a sleep cycle is marked by REM sleep, then after a short period of light slow wave sleep, we either go back into a new sleep cycle or we wake up. Deep slow wave sleep dominates at the beginning of the night and REM sleep is longer at the end of the night and in the early morning.

Slide 7

Circadian Rhythms:


Speaker's Notes

Throughout human evolution, the daily cycles of our physical environment connected to our brain so as to create a biological clock. A centre in the brain called the PNS acts as this biological clock. Our circadian clock depends mainly on our exposure to light (over 2500 lux: inside lighting is generally less than 500 lux), which acts through the nerves which connect the eye and the PNS.

This clock regulates the waking and sleeping cycles, body temperature, digestion, hormones and a wide variety of other functions. Unfortunately, modern society has created an environment where we are supposed to function 24 hours a day, which often works directly against our biological clock.

If we work during the day (eg. from 7 am to 4 pm), our body is physiologically programmed to have two periods of extreme sleepiness (less alert periods) a day:

  • between 3 and 5 am is our lowest circadian point. Body temperature, heart rate, alertness and performance are all decreased;

  • between 3 and 5 pm, the body experiences a less pronounced but still significant decrease in alertness and we feel more sleepy. This explains the lull that many of us feel in the afternoon.

All of this to say that either of these periods are time slots for sleep since the brain is offering a period of maximum sleepiness. However, if we have to work during these times, we need to know that we risk making errors the most at this time and that we need to use all of the resources at our disposal (like other crew members) to conduct cross checks and put our minds at ease.



Slide 8



Factors that affect sleep

  • Age

  • Health

  • Medication

  • Alcohol

  • The environment/working conditions

Speaker's Notes

As we get older, our sleep becomes less deep (a major part of phases 3 and 4 of slow wave sleep disappears) and is disturbed more often (we wake up more often during the night). That is why our sleep becomes shorter as we age.

This phenomenon starts to have a visible effect on us around the age of 50. A NASA study compared 50 to 60 year-old long-haul flight crews with 20 to 30 year-old crews and it found that the older group suffered, on average, 3.5% more sleep loss than the younger group.

That is why even if we sleep 8 hours, if our sleep is fragmented and not very deep, it is equivalent to losing 1 to 2 hours a night.

Alcohol has a significant effect on the sleep cycle. More than 2 glasses of liquor or beer can eliminate all of the slow wave sleep during the first half of the night. The effects of withdrawal during the second half may disturb or fragment our sleep.

Unfortunately, alcohol is the most commonly used sleep aid. A NASA study revealed that long-haul flight pilots consumed three times more alcohol when they travelled than when they were at home. Even though they act in accordance with the regulations, pilots generally consume alcohol to relax after a long flight or to fall asleep easier in order to get up early the next morning. Without knowing it, these pilots are aggravating their sleep loss problem by disturbing the normal structure of their sleep.

Many prescription and non-prescription drugs which are sold can also disturb our sleep and cause fatigue.

And as I’m sure you all know, environmental conditions such as noise, light and temperature can affect the quantity and quality of our sleep.

There are a number of sleep disorders which can interrupt our sleep and cause fatigue.

Slide 9

Consequences of fatigue

Practically every aspect of performance is hindered:

  • Poor judgment;

  • Slower reactions;

  • Forgetting systematic checks;

  • Decrease in problem-solving ability;

  • Withdrawal.

Speaker's Notes

These are some of the effects of fatigue: generally speaking, the symptoms are manifested through occasional memory loss or minor errors in performance which is otherwise satisfactory. The situation becomes very difficult when we need to deal with unexpected or sensitive problems. Sleep loss leads to increased sleepiness – This seems like a truism, even though our society generally perceives sleepiness to be a sign of laziness. It is not something that people voluntarily admit to. We joke about it, but we rarely ever talk about it seriously. However, sleep loss and sleepiness can have serious consequences and hinder all aspects of our performance. Whether it is due to long work days, alternation of work/rest cycles or disturbed sleep, fatigue is dangerous and is a factor in many accidents and incidents.



Slide 10



Effects on performance

  • Seventeen hours without sleep results in a performance level equivalent to a 0.05% blood alcohol level (two beers).

  • Twenty-four hours without sleep results in a performance level equivalent to a 0.10% blood alcohol level.

Speaker's Notes

A recent study showed that after 17 hours of uninterrupted wakefulness, the performance of a person falls to the same level as someone who is totally rested and has a blood alcohol level of 0.05%. After 24 hours, performance is equivalent to a blood alcohol level of 0.10% (higher than the legal limit).

All of this affects judgment, decision-making, planning and, generally speaking, the cognitive abilities crucial to the operation of a vehicle and a flight duty station.

Slide 11

Extreme Fatigue

Leads to an involuntary and uncontrollable shutdown of the brain

Speaker's Notes

A NASA study on naps - People fell asleep (which means that THEY COULDN’T STAY AWAKE!) even though they were connected to a NASA computer that the chief pilot of their company, the FAA and NASA were going to examine! Could you imagine falling asleep during a check flight for Transport Canada or for your company?

NASA decided that if the crews could not stay awake, it would try controlling their sleep through procedures and practices.



Slide 12



Implication for flights

Periods of extended service:

  • Extended period of wakefulness;

  • Fatigue resulting from uninterrupted continuous activities;

  • Boredom/complacency;

  • Crossing different time zones.

Limited time for sleep:

  • Cumulative sleep debt.

Speaker's Notes

Air operations present all kinds of possibilities for fatigue and sleep loss.       

They are not limited exclusively to overseas flights or night flights.

Boredom and complacency can occur when we are required to passively monitor screens (eg. in completely computerized planes).

Most government organizations recognize the negative effects of fatigue in the field of aviation.

According to NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS), nearly one out of every five reports gave fatigue as a factor.

For the first time in its history, the NTSB cited fatigue as the likely cause of the DC-8 accident which occurred in Guantanamo Bay.

Slide 13

Popular misconceptions

  • “I know how tired I am.”

  • “I’ve gone without sleep before without it affecting my performance.”

  • “I’m a professional and I can overcome the challenge.”

Why not?

It is very difficult to recognize and reliably determine our own level of fatigue!

Speaker's Notes

When it is deprived of food and water, the brain sends signals to the body, which interprets them as hunger and thirst. When we are deprived of sleep, the brain sends the signal that we need to sleep. However, if we are not sleepy, we cannot sleep.

NASA has established a correlation between various physiological measurements and the time a person needs to fall asleep. This enables objective measurement of a person’s fatigue level and comparison with the person’s subjective assessment of his/her fatigue level.

These studies show that we are very bad judges of our fatigue levels. We tend to believe that we are more alert than what the physiological measurements reveal. As when under the effect of alcohol, we lose our ability to judge our own capacities. This explains why we are often in a worse state than we think.

Contrary to popular belief, motivation, qualifications, professionalism or experience with sleep loss do not enable people to overcome the physiological effects of fatigue. Maybe we will manage to pilot a plane despite our fatigue 100 or 1000 consecutive times, or maybe fatigue will trick us the first time. Regardless of the number of times when we got out of it unharmed, the fact is that fatigue diminishes our faculties.

Under normal circumstances, we are more inclined to commit errors due to negligence (like in the Guantanamo Bay case) and if an abnormal situation requires higher performance than usual from us, it is possible that we won’t be able to respond.

Fatigue is a “handicap”, just like hypoxia, alcoholism, etc. Have you ever tried to take someone’s car keys away after he/she has had a few too many drinks?



Slide 14



The fatigue factor in aviation:

Fatigue Countermeasures


Speaker's Notes

The heads of the NASA-Ames Fatigue Countermeasures program spent a lot of time analyzing the measures that are effective and those that aren’t. I will analyze some of the techniques recommended to minimize the effects of fatigue, sleep loss and disturbance of the circadian rhythm, and to maximize the crew’s performance and alertness during a flight.

Most of these measures only require simple changes in lifestyle or habits. Unfortunately, these suggestions are only strategies do not provide a “magic pill”. Fortunately, they are things we can do if we so choose.

Slide 15

There is no simple answer!

  • Sleep and the physiology of the circadian rhythm are complex.

  • There are significant differences among people.

  • Different flights have different stresses.

Be wary of “miracle cures” for fatigue and jetlag. There is no magic remedy.

Speaker's Notes

Unfortunately, there is no “magic remedy” to counter the effects of sleep loss, jetlag or fatigue. The sleep cycle and the circadian rhythm are complex and there are significant differences among people and among flights.

There are all kinds of vitamins, pill, techniques etc, which claim to cure fatigue and jet lag. Even though it is your decision whether or not to buy these remedies, there is a risk that people may feel immune to fatigue, which is impossible. These remedies can also cause people to overestimate their tolerance to fatigue or underestimate the decrease in their faculties.



Slide 16



Alertness management strategies

Preventive strategies:

  • Used before a flight and during a stopover to counter the harmful effects of fatigue, sleep loss and disturbance of the circadian rhythm during a flight.

Operational strategies:

  • Used during a flight to maintain alertness and level of performance.

Slide 17

Preventive strategies

  • Strategies that prepare you for sleep.

  • Strategies that help you fall asleep.

  • Strategies that improve the quality of your sleep.

Speaker's Notes

Strategies that prepare you for sleep

  • There are some physical and mental relaxation exercises that you can do in bed or before going to bed which encourage sleep onset and improve the quality of your sleep throughout the night.
  • A few regular exercises before bed conditions our mind and our body to sleep. Here are a few things that you can do anywhere, anytime:
    • go to bed at the same time every night;
    • adopt a hygiene routine: brush your teeth, shower, etc.;
    • read something easy, keep a journal.
  • Going to bed when you are hungry may delay sleep onset. However, eating a heavy meal before going to bed may disturb sleep while the body digests the food. If you are hungry or thirsty, have a light snack or a small amount of liquid.

Strategies that help you fall asleep

  • Caffeine can prevent and disturb sleep during the entire night. Caffeine can have effects up to three or four hours after consuming it.
  • It is important not to associate the bedroom with activities which are not conducive to resting. Avoid working, worrying, exercising etc. in your bedroom. Do not read work-related documents or newspapers, do not do aerobic exercises, do not read your account book, etc.
  • Finally, if you cannot fall asleep within 30 minutes, do not stay in bed trying to fall asleep. Get out of bed and do something relaxing or soothing.

Strategies that improve the quality of your sleep

  • Avoid consuming alcohol before going to bed; this suppresses slow wave sleep.
  • Generally speaking, a dark, quiet, comfortable and cool room and a comfortable bed provide the best sleep.
  • Studies show that people who exercise regularly and have a balanced diet increase their deep sleep during the night. However, exercising right before going to bed may prevent you from falling asleep quickly. Although exercise causes physical fatigue, it elevates the heart rate and the respiratory rhythm and generally acts as a stimulant.



Slide 18



Sleep aids

Sleeping pills:

  • May help you fall asleep and sleep better;
  • Some may alter your sleep or have side effects;
  • May create dependence;
  • Take the lowest dose for the shortest possible period.


  • May facilitate the adaptation of the circadian rhythm and encourage sleep;
  • Its long-term effects are unknown;
  • It is not available legally in Canada.

Speaker's Notes

Some sleeping pills have beneficial effects and may help manage sleep. However, many have undesirable side effects such as: alteration of the normal sleep structure; becoming unable to sleep if you do not take them (dependence) or feeling sleepy the next day. If you have to take them, we advise that you take the lowest dosage recommended, and only for a few days. It is also wise to consult an aviation doctor.

Discovered in 1958 by Aaron B. Lerner at Yale University (USA), melatonin is a naturally occurring substance in all mammals and very common in living things. It is synthesized, mainly in the pineal gland, from tryptophane and serotonin, under the effect of enzymes whose activity is controlled by our perception of night versus day.

What does melatonin do? Synthesized and secreted only at night, its concentration in the peripheral blood increases at least 50% (in sheep) when  light turns to dark. This high secretion is maintained throughout the entire dark period. It stops the next day when light stimulates the retina again, the suprachiasmatic nuclei and finally the pineal gland. It is the duration of this secretion that enables mammals to measure the length of night, and therefore day. Variations in duration control seasonal changes of reproduction (in sheep, goats, horses and rabbits), coat growth, food digestion, etc. Although the effect of melatonin in the seasonal reproduction of sheep is now well known, its mode of action on the central nervous system still remains unclear. Recently, receptor sites were identified in various areas of the central nervous system. In humans, melatonin has had great success in North America for its potential applications as an antioxydant, and therefore as an anti-aging agent. However, the scientific results which support this use are being widely disputed in the scientific community. Melatonin is considered to be a food additive in the US, but a medication in Europe. In France, it does not have market authorization, except as veterinary medication, and therefore it is prohibited to market it for human use. However, it has been shown that melatonin may counteract the effects of the jetlag resulting from overseas flights.

Currently, it can only be used in sheep, for which it is marketed. It advances the reproduction season and increases the litter size. 

Slide 19

Strategies to increase alertness


  • If it is prior to a flight, try to limit your nap to 45 minutes.

  • If it is not prior to a flight, you can rest longer (1.5 hours to 2 hours).

  • If you don’t have 45 minutes, sleeping a little is better than not sleeping at all.

Speaker's Notes

THE REVIVAL OF THE NAP  Napping is being recommended again by numerous sleep specialists. It apparently helps reduce the risk of traffic accidents. Statistics indicate that most accidents occur during the chronobiological periods of maximum sleepiness (between 2 and 5 am, and 1 and 3 pm).  

The most serious accidents also occur during these periods. Each task that requires a great deal of alertness and productivity should be recognized as such and you should organize yourself accordingly.

In all cases, it is recommended that you deal with this less alert period, whether it be through naps, breaks (even short ones) or relaxation, according to your age, activities and preferences. The important thing is to “unwind” at the right time!

Sleeping for 30 minutes can help stop a decrease in performance, which otherwise worsens as the day goes on. Even better, a one-hour nap re-energizes the brain and makes it as efficient as in the morning.

A team of researchers from Harvard University in Boston conducted four series of visual tests a day on some individuals. Over the course of the day, the subjects’ performances decreased. If they were allowed to sleep a half hour after the second session of tests, their performances remained effective. Those who slept an hour performed better during the third session than in the second one, as if their brains had been re-energized. In addition, the subjects performed better when they were given a new task during the day which required a different mental process.

The scientists concluded that the brain experiences a saturation of certain circuits rather than general fatigue. The accumulation of information is then apparently interrupted and it is stored in the memory while we sleep. Even a short nap seems to provide a deep enough sleep to store the data acquired and re-energize the brain to assimilate new data after the nap.



Slide 20



Strategies to increase alertness

What can you do in the cockpit??

  • Start a conversation.

  • Do something physical.

  • Consume caffeine strategically:

    • Caffeine increases alertness. It takes between 15 and 30 minutes for it to have an effect and this effect can last between 3 and 4 hours.

  • Eat wisely and drink water.

Speaker's Notes

Preventing a decrease in alertness

  • ventilate
  • set the climate control to reduce the temperature
  • relax
  • drink lots of water and avoid fatty foods
  • talk to passengers and avoid staring at one spot
  • sleep a little at the beginning of the afternoon and at night, if needed.

Delay fatigue

  • rest before leaving
  • correctly adjust the seat and the back (changing position by adjusting the setting of the seat back counteracts back and shoulder fatigue)
  • eat lightly, drink lots of non-alcoholic beverages
  • sleep well the previous nights (1 to 2 hr of less sleep a night = a night without sleep after 4 or 5 days)
  • be careful with medications. Some of them may interfere with the operation of the plane, lead to or contribute to accidents by altering alertness and causing sleepiness. You should check the instructions and get information from a doctor
  • get a night of restorative sleep (around 7 hours)
  • Get up at your normal time. Getting up at an unusual time equals starting off with decreased alertness and an increased risk of accidents.
  • Eat breakfast every day and drink moderate amounts of stimulating beverages (tea, coffee)
  • Before going on a night trip, take a preventive nap of around 1.5 hrs.
  • At night alertness is reduced. It is at its lowest between 3 and 6 am.

Re-activate your alertness

  • Take a long break, sleep if possible

Slide 21

If you remember nothing else, remember this:

  • Fatigue is a physiological factor and it is impossible to change physiology.

  • Fatigue can have serious consequences and it must be taken seriously.

  • Aviation makes you prone to fatigue, but there are things you can do about it.

  • There is no simple answer; find out what works for you!

Speaker's Notes

Everyone is different. Adapt this information to your own needs.



Slide 22




The body’s response to the strains that it experiences.

Speaker's Notes

Stress refers to a situation that we face which forces us to adapt; it can’t be reduced to an emotion.

Stress almost always provokes emotions, including anxiety, joy and sadness.

Stress is a normal and natural phenomenon, not a strange psychological ailment.

We have a “fight or flight” reaction to it and that is why we feel like cutting our boss’ head off when he starts annoying us, or telling him to take his job and shove it. BUT, in our society, we can’t act this way and we have to suppress this kind of reaction, as we have seen in conflict management;

the result being that the stress is not resolved.

Slide 23

Acute stress

Acute stress is brought on by problems that arise suddenly.

For example: the stress of additional problems before the flight when we are trying to keep to the schedule.

Speaker's Notes

There are two types of stress. We have all experienced acute stress. We feel it when the engine starts to sputter or when the oil pressure gauge suddenly dips to zero or when we suddenly notice another aircraft.

Many factors cause acute stress. The way to handle it depends on how we prepare for it. One factor which can further aggravate acute stress is exposure to chronic repetitive stress.



Slide 24



Chronic stress

  • Chronic stress is a result of long- term conditions, both positive and negative.

  • Examples: a divorce or winning the lottery.

Speaker's Notes

Chronic stress is a result of long-term conditions that we all have to face. Some of can be very positive, like winning the lottery, which introduces a huge element of stress to one’s life. An example of a long-term negative stress situation would be divorce. We also all have cars to maintain, a house to pay for, and relationships with friends, spouses or children which can be good or bad. All of these factors produce a sort of general life stress. Without it, would we have a reason to get out of bed in the morning? Stress is a motivating factor, but excessive stress can be an inhibiting factor.

Slide 25


Can be defined as:

  • An emotion

  • A state of apprehension

  • A normal and necessary phenomenon

Anxiety can cause disease

Speaker's Notes

Anxiety: State of apprehension. It is a permanent state of mind and is related to psychological rather than physical symptoms. An anxious person is apprehensive about the future based on the past, whereas a depressed person is totally focused on the past and does not see any future. An anxious person has a lot of energy even though he/she feels stuck, whereas a depressed person’s energy disappears like snow under the sun. An anxious person looks desperately for a way out, whereas a depressed person has given up a long time ago. Anxiety is a normal and necessary phenomenon. It is to the psychological what pain is to the physical. It plays an important role in learning. Anxiety forces our psyche to adapt to new situations. It is crucial to our functioning.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD):  There are several types of obsession: some are related to thoughts (ideational obsessions), otheres to behaviours (impulsive obsessions) or fears (phobic obsessions).


Simple phobias: involve fears of specific objects or situations  

Social phobias:  mainly involve the persistent fear of being and remaining in a social situation where the subject is exposed to being observed by others  

Post Traumatic Stress: is the only anxious state which is defined by its cause. The victim is haunted by the memory of his/her accident, tries to escape his/her thoughts and falls into deep anxiety. This type of stress typically occurs after an aircraft attack or accident.

Panic attack: is brought on by a sudden and violent event which gives rise to a state where we feel dominated by fear. Victims experience shortness of breath and palpitations. Victims have tremors, perspire, and their teeth chatter, and they think that their time is up.  

Agoraphobia: fear of being in places or situations from which it is difficult to escape.



Slide 26



Light and heavy workloads:


Speaker's Notes

You might remember the Yekes-Dodson curve which we talked about at the beginning of the course. Some of the terms at the bottom of this curve are interchangeable (stimulation, stress, workload). I will use stress because it is the most common term.

Stress is naturally a part of our daily lives and to a certain degree, it improves our performance, even though we all know that beyond a certain point, it starts to hinder performance. Each person and each task has an optimal stress level which allows for optimal performance. Our optimal level depends on our experience, skills, physical training, fatigue level, physical state and on certain individual differences.

It is simply impossible to remain at our optimal level permanently; we would soon burn out. The challenge is avoiding either of the two extremes: inertia and overwork.



Slide 27



Stressors in aviation

  • Medical exams
  • Check flights
  • Diseases
  • Pay
  • Conflicts
  • Fear of flying
  • Keeping to schedule
  • Passengers
  • Noises and vibrations
  • Temperature and humidity
  • Diet
  • Dehydration
  • Pressure changes
  • Confined spaces
  • Poor visibility

Speaker's Notes

Some statistics:

  •  80% of transfer requests are due to relational problems.
  • In the US, 60% of absences are stress-related.
  • Americans have estimated the cost of stress in business to be 60 billion dollars.
  • 63% of business people suffer from stress.
  • Pathological anxiety affects 10 to 15% of the population. This rate is common to all developed countries.
  • Anxiety disorder strikes women most often (2 women for every man), especially between the ages of 20 and 30.
  • 30% of employees suffer from work-related stress.
  • 12 to 15 sessions of counselling may cost….

The ten most at-risk occupations:

  1. Air Traffic Controller.
  2. Teachers (junior high school and high school)
  3. Commercial trader
  4. Corporate executive
  5. Airplane pilot
  6. Police officer
  7. Nurse
  8. Management assistant
  9. Switchboard operator
  10. Courier

Slide 28

Effects of stress

  • Absenteeism: burnout, depression;

  • Workplace accidents;

  • Low tolerance for frustration;

  • Poor eating habits;

  • Tremors;

  • Decrease in morale and lack of enthusiasm;

  • Decrease in productivity.

Speaker's Notes

Work-related stress:

The classic image of stress is that of the overworked senior executive, crushed by the weight of his responsibilities; a candidate for heart attack or ulcers. However, contrary to popular belief, work-related stress also affects people from the lower end of the social scale, even unemployed people. The objective of the second part of this presentation is to better understand the nature of work-related stress.

The “always more, always better, always more competitive, always more efficient, always fighting, always a winner, and, of course, always motivated” philosophy has its limits. The “zero errors” and “total quality” philosophy which is invading the business world of our post-modern society is now affecting individuals. However, excellence comes at a price: stress.

Why are some companies starting to deal with the phenomenon of stress?

Absenteeism, workplace accidents, work-related stress are often an enemy of productivity. (see the work-related stress model in the appendix). Especially since it can become contagious. That’s why companies are starting to take notice of stress.



Slide 29



The basics of stress management

  • Identify, recognize, eliminate or counteract stressors.

  • Proactively deal with the stress factors affecting you.

  • Rest sufficiently.

  • Eat a balanced diet.

  • Exercise.

  • Communicate.

  • Take stock of your attitudes, your sense of humour and your affective state.

Speaker's Notes

Stress is not without remedy. We can learn perfectly well how to manage or emotions and relationships. Effective stress management techniques are based on:

  • emotional control: learning how to recognize the tension resulting from stress and how to make it stop. Objective: controlling your reactions better, being less irritable and tired;
  • relational management techniques: create a relational situations chart so that you can analyze them and avoid blockages. Most companies understand now that their greatest assets are their human resources, but they still need to prevent their employees from burning themselves out due to constant stress.


Can anxiety be treated?

Self-treatment is not a good idea, unless you are adequately prepared. Otherwise, you risk confirming the anxiety disorder or even reinforcing it. One of the first steps in self-treatment is learning to understand yourself better. Psychotherapy is one way which can help to understand themselves Two solutions are usually recommended for treating anxiety disorders: medication or psychotherapy. Anxiety can also be relieved through exercises in emotional control (relaxation and breathing) and sophrology, which is becoming popular and which is practised by professional athletes. This technique induces muscular and mental relaxation. A twenty minute session is equivalent to two hours of sleep.

Slide 30


A number of [French-language] tools are available:

Facteurs humains en sécurité aérienne [human factors in aviation safety]; B. Emeyriat, Modulo publishing;

Internet: www.psychomedia.qc.ca



Slide 31




Urgent demands affect our performance


Speaker's Notes

Talk about pressure by asking participants if they have ever experienced pressure.

Slide 32

Sources of pressure

  • Mangement

  • Colleagues

  • Yourself

Speaker's Notes

Exerting pressure or experiencing pressure is part of the job. Ask participants to rate their sources of pressure from 1 to 3 on page 57 of their manual (1 being the most and 3 being the least). Discuss the pressures and look at the following role play:



Slide 33



Video on pressure

(Actor1): On the phone: “You want the plane an hour earlier for a special charter flight? Yes, it’s possible.” After hanging up: “Shit, I forgot that we still need to replace the throttle. I’ll ask Gaston to help us.”

Gaston (Actor 2) is in the middle of connecting fuel lines

(Actor 1): “Gaston, I need some help here installing a throttle cable.”

(Actor 2): “OK, I’ll be there as soon as I finish connecting these fuel lines.”

(Actor 1): “I need some help now. They want the plane for a special charter flight. Come right away and I’ll buy you a coffee right after.”

(Actor 2): “OK, I can finish this later.”

Slide 34

Sources of pressure

  • Mangement (3)

  • Colleagues (2)

  • Yourself (1)

Speaker's Notes

Where did the pressure come from?

1) From yourself because management wasn’t informed of the throttle problem.

2) From colleagues because Technician Number 2 responded to Technician Number 1’s request for help.

The sources of pressure were ranked as follows:

3 (management),
2 (colleagues),
1 (yourself).

This is what happens in most cases.



Slide 35




“The pressure on our shoulders”

  • Accept our responsibility towards a situation


Speaker's Notes

Discuss what motivates us and how this motivation relates to pressure.

Slide 36


  • Stop

  • Look

  • Listen

  • Act

Speaker's Notes

Discuss methods for dealing with pressure:

Stop and assess the situation.

Look at the situation rationally.

Trust your judgment.


Communicate effectively.

Be assertive.



Slide 37




  • Fatigue management is crucial.

  • By learning to control our stress, we become able to give our best and to better organize our lives.

  • Manage pressure effectively.

Slide 38

Questions and Comments