FMP Assessment Guidelines and Scoring Worksheet

Fatigue Management Plans - Requirements and Assessment Guidelines

The FMP Assessment Guidelines and Scoring Worksheet (revised March 2010) is intended as a checklist to identify the typical components that should be included in an FMP. It is not expected that every plan include every single component listed. However, it is expected that a well-developed plan would include many of these components.

Note: C denotes a ‘core’ component, which must be included in all FMPs.

Education and Training:

Education and Training Score Observed
C 1 Sleep Hygiene 3  
  2 Diet Health & Lifestyle 1  
C 3 Body Clock 3  
  4 Definitions of Fatigue & Alertness 1  
C 5 Sleep Disorders 3  
  6 Stress Management 1  
C 7 Sleep & Performance 3  
  8 Various Sleep Schedules 1  
  9 Countermeasures 1  
  10 Individual and Age Differences 1  
    Sub-Total 18  

The Education & Training Components of a Fatigue Management Plan (FMP) should consist of the FOUR core components listed above. In addition, a truly comprehensive program would include information on all ten of the components listed above. In particular, the education program should attempt to describe to participants the essentials of Sleep Hygiene including a discussion of the factors that influence a person’s readiness to obtain sleep, factors affecting sleep quality, and factors affecting duration of sleep. This component is critical and must be included.

While not a critical component of the required FMP, Diet & Lifestyle can also affect sleep and sleep quality should also be discussed. In particular, the participants should be informed as to how various foods and food groups that are consumed at key times can affect the body’s readiness for sleep. An education and training program that does not include a section on the Body Clock or the circadian cycle and rhythms would be seriously deficient. Railway employees need to understand the arousal and recovery cycles that accompany the body clock and also how this will affect sleep and sleep propensity not to mention work performance and alertness. This component is critical and must be included.

Definitions of sleep and alertness are important and should be discussed. There is some controversy as to what fatigue actually is. Never the less, some people need to understand that there are differences between physical fatigue that might come from muscular exertion and fatigue that is associated with sleep loss. Typically when we are referring to fatigue in the transportation industry we are referencing the lack of alertness and attention that is associated with decrements in cognitive performance.

Sleep disorders are another critical component of any education & training program. The most typical for this population is Sleep Apnea, which is characterized by snoring and interrupted breathing during sleep. The other disorders that are somewhat less common include restless leg, narcolepsy and others. The importance point here is that program participants be made aware of the relationship between sleep disorders and subsequent operational deficiencies in performance that can accompany those disorders.

A module on Stress Management, while not critical, could be included in the training program again because of its relationship between the presence of stress and the potential for sleep disruption. It has been shown that persons who are experiencing high levels of stress can experience either lack of sleep, early awakening, or sometimes even excessive sleep.

A training program would also not be complete if a section were not devoted to the relationship between Sleep and Performance. Understanding this relationship is critical to effective and successful fatigue management programs in general. Lack of sleep is directly and linearly associated with a decrease in performance, cognitive performance and work performance. It is imperative that persons working in the rail transportation industry understand this critical relationship. Furthermore, there are specific levels and cut-offs that should be discussed that program participants would recognize that need to be adhered to and beyond which it is clear that they have exceeded the likely levels of optimal performance. It should be noted that hours of service guidelines and rules are typically designed not to create optimal levels of performance but to mark the line beyond which it is unsafe to operate equipment.

Sleep Schedules should be discussed in the education and training modules also. The description of sleep schedules that are typical in the rail industry and the effects that they will have on performance should be discussed and identified. Essentially, the types of schedules that lead to the development of a sleep debt over time should be reviewed and examined.

The general topic of Countermeasures should be included in the program. The typical countermeasures include but are not limited to: napping, sleeping, exercise, activity, short breaks, judicious use of caffeine, and preventative anchor sleep. This may vary from individual to individual but needs to be discussed in an educational program. While a railway may not wish to recommend a specific type of aid that will increase alertness a thorough discussion of the various alternatives and the strengths and weaknesses of each will help a railway employee make an informed decision. Moreover, by learning about the stimulating effects of various substances naturally occurring in the environment hey will also learn when not to use them in order to maximize the likelihood of obtaining adequate sleep during rest periods.

Finally, some discussion of the importance of both Individual Differences and Age differences. For the most part, on average people need about eight hours of sleep per night or 24-hour period. However, some individuals have remarkable stamina and resilience when it comes to being able to withstand the effects of sleep deprivation and restricted sleep. Individuals should be exposed to this concept so that they can come to monitor their own typical sleep needs and understand their schedules so as to appropriately manage their needs for restorative and recuperative sleep. At the same time, sleeping habits and sleep needs change as a person ages. Most of the research suggests that people continue to need approximately eight hours of sleep. However, they are likely to have increasing difficulty actually sleeping a full eight hours at one time. Therefore they need to address this and take recovery naps.

Scheduling Practices:

Scheduling Practices Score Observed
C 1 The total length of the work shift is not greater than 12 hours. 3  
  2 Recognition of the potential for fatigue when working between the hours of 0000 and 0600. 1  
  3 Recovery periods permit opportunities to obtain rest when obtaining less than six hours of continuous sleep in a 24-hour period. 1  
C 4 Off-duty times permit reasonable recuperative times. 3  
C 5 Work time is limited to 64 hours in a seven-day period. 3  
  6 Recovery periods permit two consecutive nights of sleep. 1  
  7 Twenty-minute break periods are scheduled approximately every four hours. 1  
C 8 To the extent possible, work schedules that are highly predictable are offered. 2  
  9 Opportunities for napping exist. 1  
C 10 When periods of wakefulness exceed 19 continuous hours sufficient opportunity for sleep is provided. 3  
    Sub-Total 19  

Scheduling practices described in the FMP should be reviewed and assessed for the five critical core components and five recommended components delineated in the above table. The work schedule should ensure that the length of a work shift is no greater than 12 hours. In addition, work schedules that require employees to perform work-related tasks during the period between 0000-0600 should be minimized. When night shifts are required, there should be sufficient opportunity in the schedule for recovery prior to working another shift and or sufficient time to prepare for such a shift. It is recommended that employees operating equipment or performing safety sensitive tasks during 0000-0600 be given the opportunity to nap.

Scheduling practices that do not provide the employees with the likelihood of obtaining 6 hours of continuous sleep following performance of work tasks or duties should also be avoided. Research suggests that it is unlikely that a person will obtain more than 6 hours of sleep during daylight hours unless they are really exhausted. Persons who have been working regular daylight jobs are unlikely to be able to suddenly switch and sleep for eight hours during the day. Accordingly, there will likely be a need for persons to have sufficient recovery time to adjust to schedule changes. It is recommended that at least TWO nights of recovery time be afforded to those who have been exposed to excessive work hours or prolonged duty times as well as restrictive sleep and midnight shifts.

Most research suggests that there is a need for work or rest breaks periodically during the workday. In fact, performance is likely to be enhanced if breaks are afforded individuals. The number of breaks provided should be spaced out so that they occur at least every two hours, and there is at least one during a 5-hour period.

Predictability in the work schedule is not directly related to alertness per se. However, predictability allows employees to be better prepared and diminishes the likelihood that the person will be caught unawares and short of sleep. The worst cases scenario is when a person extends their wakefulness not anticipating a call for duty, and then must work long hours and into the 0000-0600 period of increased sleepiness.

Scheduling practices that provide opportunities to nap and recover are likely to be more forgiving and more productive. Employees who have the opportunity to nap for at least 20 minutes to alleviate the effects of fatigue are likely to be able to perform at or near optimal for at least 3 hours subsequent to the nap.

Finally, employees who are awake for 19 or more hours are going to be functioning well below optimal levels of performance. Therefore, they should be afforded immediate opportunities to sleep or nap in order to avoid being a danger to themselves or others.

Dealing with Emergencies:

Dealing with Emergencies Score Observed
C 1 Definition of emergency situations 4  
C 2 Provision of specialized considerations for extra duty 4  
    Sub-Total 8  

A section of the FMP should be devoted to how railway management expects to address emergency situations or unexpected deviations from planned schedules. This should include a definition of what constitutes an emergency and the procedures that will be put in place to minimize the likelihood that persons in emergencies will be expected to perform safety-sensitive tasks or duties if they have been awake for long periods of time, or been deprived of sleep. The plan should make recommendations for how employees and supervisors will minimize fatigue for persons performing emergency duties. Specific sections of the plan should address situations in which individuals exceed 12 hours of on-duty time, and also for situations in which the emergency work takes place between the hours of 0000 and 0600.

Alertness Strategies:

Alertness Strategies Score Observed
C 1 FMP should include a list of recommended and approved alertness strategies. 5  
  2 Technological aids (alerters) 1  
  3 Napping strategies 1  
  4 Breaks 1  
  5 Checklists to stay alert. 1  
  6 Other communication strategies as needed. 1  
  7 Appropriate use of exercise 1  
  8 Use of light, sound, and temperature. 1  
    Sub-Total 12  

Alertness strategies or countermeasures should be recommended for employees in FMPs. These strategies should be implemented when the person feels that they are likely to experience levels of fatigue that may interfere with their work performance. The intent of this section is to ensure employees have received information on what are considered recommended or approved fatigue alertness strategies that can be used in an operational environment during emergency situations. It is recognized that the most effective technique is to obtain sleep. However, when this is not possible, other strategies may be used. For example, short breaks with some light exercise can restore alertness for a brief period. Selective and appropriate use of natural stimulants is also a possibility. Napping is also a technique that can be used. Persons should be informed of the appropriate use of naps in this circumstance. Employees should be informed of and given opportunities to utilize the alertness strategies at their discretion in order to maximize their productivity.

Rest Environments:

Rest Environments Score Observed
C 1 Standard policy for review of facilities 2  
  2 Certification of lodging 1  
  3 Sleep aids 1  
C 4 Light reduction 2  
C 5 Sound reduction techniques 2  
C 6 Temperature controls 2  
  7 Exercise facilities 1  
  8 Eating facilities 1  
C 9 Wake up policies - do not disturb 2  
  10 Location or proximity to tracks or switching operations 1  
    Sub-Total 15  

Rest environments will play a critical role in addressing the needs of persons affected by fatigue risk. FMPs should include the FIVE critical core items and the five recommended items. Most importantly, a well-designed FMP should include a specific section describing the rest environments that are available and the criteria for evaluating their suitability for railway personnel. Critical to the successful implementation of an FMP is the standard policy for review of facilities that assists both employees and vendors of lodging services to provide adequate sleep and rest facilities. Such a policy may lead to certification of lodging facilities. A committee or team or procedure will need to be specified that describes how various facilities will be reviewed and the result of the review made public.

The most important criteria that must be included in a successful review of a facility will be the requirement that facilities have the ability to: reduce sound, reduce light and reduce or control temperature. These three characteristics are very important and the plan cannot be approved without these three components. Additional criteria include, but are not limited to: exercise facilities, eating and dining areas, white noise reduction equipment, and wake or do not disturb policies that prevent the employees from being disturbed when sleeping.

Implementation Policies:

Implementation Policies Score Observed
C 1 General principles 5  
C 2 General Plan 5  
  3 Local Plan 1  
  4 Risk Assessment 1  
C 5 Commitment to FMP Rule 3  
    Sub-Total 15  

Overall, an FMP should have a format and content that is easily discernable. It is recommended that all railways develop a standard format for explaining and delineating the various components of the FMP. The FMP should begin with a statement of general principles that the railway is attempting to implement. Then a general description of the plans should be attempted. Typically this will consist of a set of statements advocating a scheduled railway or the like.

It is important the plan identify those persons who are responsible both at a corporate level and at a local level for implementing the plan. It is not sufficient to identify someone at corporate headquarters who has no operational authority at a local level, since chances are that a typical employee will not be able to avail himself or herself of access to such a person. Therefore, a local supervisor should be responsible and identified for implementation purposes.

The plan should include some recognized approach for assessing risk associated with fatigue. By this, we mean that some form of a fatigue model or scheduling tool that has appropriate scientific validity be employed to examine the likelihood of a schedule or condition for creating or developing fatigue levels that might not be considered optimal, or put another way, that creates conditions that are sub-optimal.

The FMP should clearly describe how it will be implemented, and who is responsible at an immediate local level for ensuring that it is implemented.

Evaluation of FMPs and Crew Management Effectiveness:

Evaluation of FMPs and Crew Management Effectiveness Score Observed
C 1 Specification of fatigue metrics 2  
C 2 Specification of data gathering methods 2  
C 3 Systematic review of crew scheduling data 2  
C 4 Accident analysis 2  
C 5 Opportunity for consultation (e.g. Employee representatives; health and safety committees) 2  
  6 Systematic review of plan measurement data 1  
  7 Use of bio behavioural models (e.g. FAST, FAID) 1  
  8 Utilization of expert review of the FMP 1  
    Sub-Total 13  
    Overall Score 100  

An important new aspect of FMPs that will contribute to their overall improvement and effectiveness is the specification of a method for evaluating the effectiveness of the plan. The assumption here, is that there is a need to continually improve the management of fatigue in the workplace, and that without an effective and up-to-date plan there will be no way to ensure that the plan is actually managing - and thereby reducing - the effects of fatigue. Consequently, there will need to be a plan to capture data related to fatigue and additional data related to how well fatigue is being managed.

Importantly, the FMP will need to include at least some behavioural indicators of fatigue. This may consist of signs and symptoms that employees exhibit that could indicate the presence of fatigue. These can include drowsiness, sluggishness, self-reports of fatigue or sleepiness and the like.

Implicit in such a plan is the need to identify appropriate measurements and metrics that will be captured to facilitate the evaluation of the FMP. Simply gathering accident data will not be sufficient as there are many factors that contribute to the occurrence of accidents. Rather other metrics such as self-reported levels of fatigue, the number of layoffs for fatigue requested and granted , total number of hours on duty, average start times, average discrepancy between posted start times and actual start times.

Another important and very critical item to be included in the plan will be the specification of what measurements will be used as an indicator of fatigue. This may be any one of a number of different measures such as self-report, hours on duty, hours away from home terminal etc. The carrier will need to specify these metrics at the outset of the plan. In addition to the metrics, the plan will also need to include a specification of methods for gathering the data.

Crew scheduling data is an important source of information that can help specify the extent to which employees are exposed to the risk of fatigue. Crew work schedules will need to be reviewed and examined to determine the extent to which they either create the likelihood of long work hours and or the likelihood of limited or restricted sleep, thereby promoting sleep deprivation.

A successful FMP will also include a provision for examining the extent to which fatigue was a factor in accidents that are reported in the railway. In other words, accident analysis and investigation techniques may need to be modified to include an assessment of the role of fatigue.

Lastly, the plan should include a systematic review of all of the above gathered data, in consultation with management and labour, to determine whether the data gathered do in fact relate to a problematic situation. In other words, the data needs to be reviewed and analyzed to determine the effects of the FMP on the overall level of fatigue within the organization. In addition, the use of outside experts or scientists familiar with the science of sleep and fatigue, who can help evaluate the Fatigue Management Plan or offer their opinion as to the adequacy of suggested fatigue countermeasures for the operations environment, should be a useful and accepted means of determining whether the FMP is adequate to address the risk of fatigue in the workplace.

In order to allow successful analyses, the FMP may incorporate the use of behavioural models, expert review, and overall performance evaluation.