Fatigue is a key issue with safety-critical jobs that must be performed 24-hours a day. Recent research on fatigue in over-the-road truck drivers has disturbing implications for the process control industries. A field measurement of driver alertness hypothesized that self-assessment of fatigue by the drivers and time to collision (separation from vehicles in front of them) would be valid sensitive measures of fatigue, but the data showed otherwise (Belz, S.M., Robinson, G.S., & Casali, J.G. “Temporal Separation and Self-Rating of Alertness as Indicators of Driver Fatigue in Commercial Motor Vehicle Operators, Human Factors, Vol. 46. No. 1, 2004, p154-169).
The authors found that the drivers exhibited driving without awareness (DWA) followed by a sudden onset of fatigue-related symptoms. Contrary to simulator studies, fatigue was not preceded by a multitude of symptoms/indicators, but came on rapidly. The implication for any safety sensitive position is that, by the time the individual feels fatigued, their performance may already be severely compromised.
Copyright © 2004 Beville Engineering, Inc., All Rights Reserved
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