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Maintenance technicians indicate their work schedule and sleep history by answering 10 questions to help calculate fatigue levels.


“They get back a fatigue report,” says


One way to evaluate a work schedule is to calculate a fatigue scor days of


f, and number of nightshifts as shown in this T


“Fatigue management also involves knowing what goes on outside of work,” says PAMA’s Forton. “This could involve knowing, for example, if an employee has a second job or is getting a divorce.”


Not all FRMS would be alike, according to Johnson. To be successful, a system must be tailored to the maintenance organization’s unique needs and be implemented with employee involvement. In that vein, a Transport Canada official adds, “Management has a responsibility to create a work environment that minimizes fatigue-related risk, and employees have an obligation to ensure that time away from work is used appropriately.”


The FRMS concept is in an infant stage and still uncommon within maintenance organizations. Giovannoli found that 73 percent of his survey’s participants say their respective organizations have no fatigue risk management program.


Other Tools FAA, Transport Canada and other regulatory agencies are providing a plethora of tools relating to maintenance fatigue, many of which support FRMS development. The website www.mxfatigue.com presents an array of FAA tools; Transport Canada’s policies and tools can be found on www.tc.gc.ca. FAA tools include a fatigue log, fatigue assessment form, fatigue risk index, fatigue symptom checklist and numerous educational aids. One educational aid, a two-hour training system, includes a 20-minute video that Avers and Johnson are particularly proud of providing. It is “a fictional story, not a lecture,” says Johnson. Called “Grounded,” the video portrays a stressful situation facing an airline maintenance manager who suffers from job pressure and too little sleep. Avers and Johnson wrote the script. “Grounded” has won 18 film awards,


ransport Canada chart. Both charts courtesy T


e based on factors such as shift lengths, ransport Canada.


including recognition at the New York Film Festival in the industrial category. The training system, which also includes tests, is assessable on-line and in CD form. Johnson claims CAMI has distributed 3,500 of the CDs and that more than 15,000 maintenance professionals have accessed the training tool on-line. “United [Airlines] distributed the training to all it maintenance personnel, and Emirates Airlines has made the training mandatory for all its engineering personnel,” he adds. “We also did studies to determine if the [two-hour] training is effective,” says Avers. “We saw behavioral changes—some participants are now sleeping about an hour longer.”


Maintenance errors due to fatigue is


foremost a safety issue, but it can be a financial issue, too. Consider, for example, that engine problems yield at least half the flight cancellations, which cost an average $66,000 each in the U.S., according to Boeing. Johnson tells of a large U.S.-based MRO that applied FAA’s training tool to its 2,500 employees and also determined the tool’s return on investment with an ROI calculator, also in the agency’s toolbox. “The MRO invested a quarter million dollars and got a three-to-one, or 310 percent, return, accounting for reduced aircraft damage and cost from OSHA [U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration]-related injuries,” Johnson reports. Also in the FAA toolbox is a fatigue risk assessment tool, developed cooperatively by FAA, CAMI’s maintenance-fatigue working group and Pulsar Informatics Inc., a Philadelphia, Penn.-based company that helped develop neurobehavioral performance measurement. This data- gathering tool is similar to NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) but tailored to the maintenance community.


Dr. Michael Stubna, Pulsar Informatics’ vice president of engineering. “It provides an objective measure of fatigue.” He says the tool includes “a biomathematical model that, based on human sleep cycles, determines alertness and performance degradation.” “The technician can choose to do what he wants with the report: give it to his manager or keep it to help adjust sleeping habits,” says Stubna. Since the data (stored at Pulsar Informatics) is anonymous, it also can provide a research database, providing a clearer picture of the fatigue problem. Fatigue management toolboxes are


continually expanding. For example, FAA plans to add a review of fatigue management tool, a fatigue management policies and procedures manual, and training assessment for both employees and supervisors, among other on-line aids.


More Data Wanted Private companies, too, are creating devices that assist in fatigue management. Massachusetts-based Zeo Inc. offers a device that combine rest-measurement hardware with software model that assesses fitness for duty. And the Jeppesen Company has developed an iPhone application that keeps track of work and rest schedules, though it is as yet only for pilots. Ultimately, fatigue risk management, being data driven, will evolve as more and more information is gathered. In addition to its risk assessment tool, FAA has recently added the 10 questions in its fatigue risk assessment tool to its Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP) form, used by aviation industry employees to voluntarily report perceived safety issues. Johnson believes fatigue data also can be collected from NASA’s ASRS program and the Line Operations Safety Assessment (LOSA) program for maintenance and ramp operations, established in 2011 by FAA, academia, the aviation industry and Airlines for America (formerly ATA). FAA, Transport Canada and the civilian aviation authorities in New Zealand and Australia have conducted scientific studies that focus on sleep deprivation due to lengthy duty shifts. But many in industry believe more study is necessary. “We have to have both quantitative and qualitative data,” says Illumia’s Terry von Thaden. “We’ve come a long way, but [research in maintenance-professional fatigue] is still in its infancy.” AM


Aviation Maintenance | avm-mag.com | June / July 2012 23


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