This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
The medicine definition of ‘Fatigue’ refers to: “A condition characterized by a lessened capacity for work and reduced efficiency of accomplishment, usually accompanied by a feeling of weariness and tiredness. Fatigue can be acute and come on suddenly or chronic and persist” [Medicine Net (2008 9)]. Author Hawkins  defines fatigue as “a source of difficulty which has tended to generate confusion and retarded progress. Medicine Health  defines ‘Fatigue’ as: “Fatigue, also known as weariness, tiredness, exhaustion, or lethargy, is generally defined as a feeling of lack of energy.”
Fatigue have a varied range of interpretations with a wide concept which may defers from one person to another [Medicine Net (2008 9)]. Fatigue can be interpreted in four ways. Firstly, it may reflect on inadequate rest, sleep, the symptoms of being disturbed, by stressors or sufferer such as jetlag, excessive physical activity disturbance or excessive cognitive work being undertaken [Hawkins (1988 7)]. Fatigue can be said to be like ‘stress’ which is an umbrella term which encompasses many different perspective [Green, Muir, James, Gradwell, & Green (1996 6)]. Fatigue causes can be also group as Acute Fatigue (immediate) or Chronic Fatigue (long term build-up). Fatigue is a major risk in aviation, and implementation of countermeasures, both organisational and individual, are need to minimise this risk. Fatigue is a condition that is hard to determine, its effects are very widespread and contribute more to aviation risk than actually perceived. As aviators, an understanding of the causes of fatigue is helpful in avoiding this syndrome. Circadian desynchrony, sleep debt, hypoxia, zietgeber shifts and workload contribute significantly to fatigue. However, careful planning by the organisation, technical advances and individual responsibility may reduce the risk of fatigue in the aviation industry. The reduced state of physical and mental function associated with tiredness is known as fatigue (Caldwell & Caldwell, 2003). Deprivations of rest, circadian desynchrony or zeitgeber shifts (i.e. light or temperature cues for time) increase the rate of fatigue in an individual. Kirsch (1996) writes that 4-7% of aviation accidents can be attributed to fatigue, however this is not an accurate representation of the problem. The actual extent of its effects is extremely hard to determine, as there are no testing methods available that can accurately measure the level of fatigue in an individual (Petrilli, Roach, Dawson & Lamond, 2006). The effects of fatigue, however, can be observed from an individual’s behaviour (Caldwell & Caldwell, 2003). According to research (Pilcher & Huffcutt, 1996 as cited in Passer & Smith, 2008), fatigue has negative effects on mood, cognitive and physical performance. Adversely affecting mood causes irritation, poor decision making and therefore increase miscommunication between flight crew. Likewise, an aircraft technician might also find it difficult to assemble complicated aircraft components due to cognitive and physical impairment. In addition, fatigued individuals incorrectly perceived an increase in performance although their cognitive and physical had been impaired by sleep deprivation (Passer & Smith, 2008). Hence, individuals often lay blame of an incident on other confounding factors such as complicated displays or un-cooperative team members,
According to Passer and Smith. The amount of workload is also a factor that determines the rate of fatigue. Kunreuther and Yen. international patterns with many ports of call are planned with layovers too short for pilots to rest. an individual’s respiratory system absorbs less oxygen at higher altitude than at seal level and this causes a condition known as hypoxia (Whitt. Caldwell and Caldwell (2003) noted that normal recovery from jet lag takes 2 to 3 days. further research indicates that an estimated 600 incidents without mishap go unreported (Phimister. even if an airplane is pressurised to a certain cabin altitude. 1 sleep credit is equivalent to 1 hour. n. Although hypoxia has many symptoms such as dizziness. Muir James. Unfortunately. compromises safety as pilots are effectively not in control of the aircraft during that short period Caldwell and Caldwell (2003). Hence. 2008). 2006). Therefore. Commute time and other personal necessities also reduce the amount of time available for sleep. and that the effect is more pronounced on an eastward followed by a westward route than vice versa. However. and this often goes unnoticed(Petrilli et al. assuming that all time spent off work is spent resting. 1996). Our circadian rhythm is influenced and controlled by external cues or zeitgeber. 2003 as cited in Petrilli et al. 2006). Experience early flights and flying at night. Heinrich illustrated in his safety pyramid that for each major accident there are an estimated 300 near misses. 1997). the external air pressure decreases as an aircraft climbs.d. Whitt writes that these symptoms of hypoxia contribute significantly to aviation fatigue. The loss of sleep credits forces the brain to sleep involuntarily. therefore sleeping 7 hours a day instead of 8 results in a loss of 1 sleep credit. even though a small number if accidents can be directly attributed to fatigue.). 2006). the smoker would feel as if he is breathing at an altitude of much higher. increasing the rate of fatigue (Nesthus. (International Air Transport Association.although the root cause may be fatigue. the actual number may be in fact much larger. causing circadian desynchrony or otherwise known as jet lag (Petrilli et al.d. Smoking also aggravates this situation by reducing oxygen absorption into the lungs. 2007). n. lowering heart rate and body temperature in preparation for sleep (Passer & Smith. known as microsleep. 2006). they cross many time zones.. Our brain is a complex organ that runs on oxygen. It can be assumed that fatigue contributes to more aircraft accidents than statistically reported. pilots are made to fly multiple sectors while maximising the limits on flight duration allowed by the Airline Operators Certificate (Fatigue Managment. Temperature and light fluctuate during the day and our bodies match our sleep/wake cycles to match these changing patterns (Green. Pilot’s fatigue increases as they fly an international pattern with many sectors (Petrilli et al. It was found out that 59% of surveyed pilots responded that night flying was a major cause of fatigue (Bourgeois-Bougrine et al. surrounding traffic. Garner & Mills. In addition. Kleindorfer. work long shifts. 2006). Caldwell and Caldwell (2003) wrote that organisations often plan shifts without taking into account their worker’s commute time and time for other necessities. Pilots are constantly faced with the responsibility of monitoring multiple cockpit instruments. shortness of breath.).. 2000). Suitable countermeasures should be adopted on the organisational as well as the personal level to combat the root causes of fatigue. In a single international pattern around the world. This occurs when the human body increases melatonin production in the body. radio communications. the human body is unable to re-adjust its sleep wake cycles to the new time zones immediately. international pilots experience many difficulties. signalling an urgent need for the aviation industry to take steps in reduce fatigue related risks. etc. with the improvement of the aviation industry and the onset of new low cost carriers. This effect. therefore. a situation aggravated by the loss of sleep credits (Passer & Smith. However. Gradwell & Green. Oktem. aircraft heading and many other aspects of flying including the actual .
creating a decrease in individual’s performance [Dijk & Czeisler (1995 3)]. increasing the rate of fatigue in aircrew. cognitive information processing or other high cognitive skills. environment simulation and automation. lack of oxygen. Emotional Fatigue Emotional fatigue can be also known as ‘burnout’ which simply refers to the wearying effect of working under psychological disagreeable task. Thus if sleep has been prevented or shorten. This type of fatigue can be seen when individual starts complaining saying its tired. Mental fatigue can be arise from prolong activity as well [Stokes & Kites (1994 13)]. Author Dijk and Czeisler  stated that the ‘sleep homeostat’ or the bodies demand for sleep will increase throughout the day of wakefulness will contribute to the amount and quality of sleep at night. fatigue level will increase as sleep will be consistently being initiated at the wrong time. while increasing workload also increases fatigue risk.control of the aircraft (Hancock & Desmond. bored. Technology assists relieving fatigue through ergonomics. Mental Fatigue It is associated with task demanding intense concentration. it will result in physical fatigue for an individual. the individual has the responsibility to increase their resistance to fatigue. 2001). organisational efficiency a constant balance that the aviation industry maintain. Physical Fatigue Physical fatigue refers to various physical issues such as muscle soreness. Therefore. According to Hancock and Desmond. As the circadian system helps to maintain our wakefulness during the day. However. the cockpit workload fluctuates with the progression of the flight peaking prior to take-off and landing. poor nutrition. Causes of Fatigue Internal Drive for Sleep Sleep duration or the amount of sleep obtained will influence the level of fatigue. If this system gets distorted. it affects almost every human factor involved and may have accounted for more accidents in aviation that actually perceived. Most importantly. The effects of fatigue are often grossly underestimated. routine or from consistent arguing in workplace or domestically [Stokes & Kites (1994 13)]. Such metal fatigue can be seen in examples such as single pilot flying in Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) during night. . and take steps to reduce it if they are on duty. Circadian Biological Clock Our bodies sleep clock that influences the sleep duration and quality is critical in the level of fatigue one will experience. with sleep rarely being initiated during the day. tiredness caused by lack of sleep or illness [Stokes & Kites (1994 13)]. decreasing workload decreases. however. Classification of Fatigue There are mainly three types of fatigues. organisations can help counter the effects of fatigue in their staff by planning duties according to the circadian rhythm.
& Gander (2006 12)]. Biological limitations imposed by fatigue will impair performance of even the most highly skilled or motivated individuals [Caldwell (1997 1)]. which might be a source for fatigue [Signal.Jet Lag After travelling to and fro from time zones. slower reactions. dark. quality sleep. Ratieta. & Gander (2006 12)]. It is also best to avoid working or reading in bed. thus the recommendations will significantly reduced fatigue only. Ratieta. Total prevention of fatigue is impossible. to avoid exposure to daylight from dawn to 1000. •First. The symptoms are similar to jetlag as their cues for sleeping are often disturbed from their different shift working rosters. Narrowing of attention (similar to stress) occurs thus increasing the risk of human errors in any situations. Thus this distorting inevitably affects the characteristics of circadian rhythm. In addition. Thus the circadian clock can adapt the time of both physiological and behavioural variables [Signal. Thus consistent jetlag will eventually distorts ones’ bio clock which will increase the probability of fatigue causing. Wear . to ensure restful. or negated by monetary or other incentives [Signal. accuracy and timing degrade with lower performance level which are unconsciously accepted without self-detection [Signal. and defective memory which inevitably increases the outcome of human error in any situation [Hawkins (1988 7)]. It is also important. This can be accomplished by maintaining a consistent sleep/wake schedule even on days off. As fatigue level in one individual increases. Furthermore. degrading performance. Ratieta. the sleep environment should be cool. Prevention of Fatigue Here are a few ways to prevent fatigue as recommended FAA and ICAO for pilots. Shift Work Shift work schedules are referring to working hours’ distortion which requires sleep to be displaced from its normal night time slot. If you desire to read before going to bed. The bed should be associated only with sleeping and sexual activity. Ratieta. & Gander (2006 12)]. Thus the consistent changing of sleep rhythm will affect ones performance as fatigue due to the lack of sleep or the irregularities of sleep cycle from disturbance of the bio clock will result in degrading human performances. as this may actually contribute to problems in falling asleep. Consequences of Fatigue The precise nature of fatigue can be said to be diverse and insidious. & Gander (2006 12)]. As sleepiness increases. the effects of fatigue cannot be overcome either by training or experience. do this in a chair outside the bedroom and then go to bed •Adjustment of shift work to prevent circadian dis-synchronization. individuals circadian clock will be out of its ‘preset’ local day-night cycle. when on the night shift. fatigue will reduce social interaction with others and eventually loses group or team performance level. performance decreases and the effects of such relationships worsens during night hours [Dinges & Kribbs (1991 4)]. Problem solving and reasoning skills are slower then normal while psychomotor skills are degrading with an increase rate of false responses [Caldwell (1997 1)]. This is extremely critical for pilots operating an aircraft. and quiet.
According to most of the research. The results showed that highest levels of fatigue were observed in the night between 2 am to 6 am. •When trying to sleep outside your normal bedtime. More importantly. Napping is a good strategy for coping with sleep deprivation during continuous operations or other times when it is difficult to get a good night’s sleep •Maintain good physical health with regular fitness programmes which will enable the body to resist the effects of fatigue. It makes no sense to try to catch up on sleep and then exhaust oneself during the day. For 12 weeks several pilots having 3-12 hours flight timings were allowed to complete Samn-Perelli fatigue ratings just before their descent at the end of their flights. resulting into crash of aircraft at a hill near Guam International Airport killing 228 of 254 people. Spencer. It was found the fatigue is correlated to length of the duty. Also ensure that you eat properly to give your body the fuel it needs to recuperate. darken the room. Consecuently he was too late to execute a "go around" approach. You may eat a light snack before going to sleep. Supporting evidence The accident report compiled by the NTSB (2000 ) on Korean Air Flight 801 suggests a classical example and evidence of fatigue in aviation. but do not go to sleep too full or too hungry. •Get plenty of natural sleep. and while asleep consider wearing a sleep mask to avoid any exposure to light. Total of 3023 usable ratings.sunglasses if you cannot go to sleep before the sun rises (as long as this does not pose a safety hazard).wear the clothes to bed that you would normally wear. were collected. investigators were able to identify the fatigue factor of the captain. captain must have been sleeping if he were on his usual flight schedule. A research carried out by Powell. pilots are vulnerable to poor alertness and higher possibility of errors during midnight. Holland and Petrie (2008 ) on fatigue levels on two-pilot operations found an interesting result. •After 24 . The accident occured at 00:42 hours in the flight crew's home time zone on 6 August 1997.48 hours of sleep deprivation DO NOT sleep overly long during the recovery period. and keep noise to a minimum. . fatigue levels were higher at end of two-sector duties that single sector duty. After the investigation and experimentation. This could interfere with your normal sleep/wake cycle and cause sleeping problems the next night. including 74 per cent of double sector pilots and 26 per cent of single sector pilots. prepare for sleep as you normally would have . Also avoid caffeine consumption for about 6 hours prior to going to sleep. Exposure to light before you go to sleep will interfere with the quality of your sleep. He was suffering from fatigue and was preoccupied with glidesope and lost the position of the aircraft. Moreover. It is also important when treating fatigue to maintain a reasonable work schedule during waking hours.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.