The Rail Industry Fatigue Survey

Fatigue management is no longer about sticking to the Hidden Limits (working hour prescriptions defined after the 1988 Clapham Junction accident). It is about understanding the risks and putting in place risk controls (including controls on working hours).  It's about measuring and evaluating how well those controls are working. And this means collecting data to learn from operational experience.

Accident and incident data are key sources for knowing how to manage any safety issue. When it comes to fatigue, we know there are challenges around identifying whether fatigue was present in an incident, and whether it was a contributing factor. This type of data is also reactive: you understand the issues after accidents or incidents have happened. One way we can be more proactive is by surveying staff to understand their experiences of fatigue and how well the company’s fatigue risk controls are working. This is exactly what we did in 2018. Working with colleagues across our industry, we surveyed staff from 25 companies and received 7,807 responses. This is by far the largest collaborative exercise of this kind that we are aware of, and it's a clear sign that the rail industry’s approach to managing fatigue is maturing.

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