Fatigue, Workload, and Health and Wellbeing Management

With suitable guidance the rail industry’s knowledge of fatigue, workload and health and wellbeing is improving. Tools and guidance can empower the industry to manage the risks posed to their workforce by these factors.


To better understand and manage fatigue and alertness in the rail industry, RSSB has prepared a variety of guidance, videos and management tools that are available on this website. As well as tools there are additional resources to help rail staff better understand and manage these. Specialist resources are also provided for people involved in planning and rostering, management and supervision, incident investigation and running Fatigue Risk Management Systems. Information on past and ongoing research projects, and links to useful material on managing fatigue are also provided. 

Understanding both sides of workload

The rail industry has known for years that high mental workload (overload) can cause employees to make mistakes. But, to date there has been very little recognition of what happens at times when workload is low (underload). For many people, the intensity of work varies from one moment to another. Sometimes, it can be very demanding, with lots to take in (for example, during emergencies, or if we’re working in peak hours); and at other times, work can be monotonous and repetitive. In situations like this, it can be difficult to maintain concentration. This in turn can affect job performance and lead to mistakes occurring.

RSSB has developed a toolbox of techniques that train drivers can use to reduce the likelihood of staff drifting into a state of underload. The toolbox provides a number of self-management techniques for train drivers to manage underload. It clearly outlines how each technique should be used, why users will find each technique effective and the risks and constraints that each technique presents. 

In addition to the underload toolbox, RSSB has developed the Workload Toolkit which helps users to understand the factors that influence the demand and the effort of the work of a driver. The tool enables users to rate and assess workload resulting from a particular scenario, journey or event.

Musculoskeletal health

Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are one of the leading causes of work-related absence and can affect muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints. If you have to assess or manage musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) risks in train drivers, the musculoskeletal disorder risk assessment for train drivers (MAT) tool will provide valuable information, guidance and a template to enable you to do this.

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