Shift Work essay

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Shift Work and Scheduling in Aviation Industry

Shift work and Fatigue in the Aviation Industry

There is a circadian rhythm in every human being (refer to Figure 1). It basically acts like the body's biological alarm clock and it tells your body the time it needs to rest, to eat or even when to get active. The circadian rhythm can be interrupted by modifications in daily schedule. Disturbance in the circadian rhythm can have strong consequences like the onset of exhaustion. Typically grownups need good 8 hours of sleep in a 24-hour phase (WSH Council, 2010). A recurrent sleep of less than that vital will sustain a sleep deprivation that cannot be improved within one day. Improvement typically requires a few days of sufficient sleep (WSH Council, 2010).

Fatigue or tiredness is basically when a person feels low and weak both mentally and physically, there are many different types of fatigue and they are as follows:

The very first type includes physical fatigue and it is normally the inability to perform manual work.

The second type is the mental fatigue which includes the reduced level of attention and alertness.

There are a number of reasons due to which fatigue can be caused and they include the following:

Prolonged shift work schedules

Intense and unrelenting bodily effort

Intense and unrelenting mental effort;

Continue functioning throughout some or all of the normal time for sleep (as a consequence of long shift work hours).

Lack of enough relaxation and sleep (WSH Council, 2010).


Problem defined:

A problem known as pilot fatigue is basically a very important problem in the modern aviation mainly due to the prolonged and erratic shift work schedules. Long task periods, circadian disturbances, and inadequate sleep are routine in both civilian and military flight operations. The complete impact of fatigue is frequently underappreciated, but several of its harmful effects have been known for quite a while now (Caldwell et al., 2010).

Fatigue in the aviation industry is one of the most dangerous issues for work-related security, performance efficiency, and individual comfort. The numerous flight legs, long shift work duty hours, inadequate time off, early report timings, less-than-necessary sleeping circumstances, revolving and substandard work shifts (Stepanski and Wyatt, 2003), and jet lag facade are important challenges for the fundamental biological potential of pilots and crews.

Human beings are merely not prepared (or did not evolve) to function successfully on the pressured 24/7 agendas that frequently described today's flight operations, whether they are short-haul profitable flights, long-range transoceanic operations, or extensive military assignments. Because of this, perfect coordinated and planned, science-based, fatigue managing techniques are vital for management of sleep loss/sleep deprivation, continued periods of sleeplessness, and circadian factors that are most important contributors to fatigue-related flight accidents (Stewart et al., 2006).

In this paper, we propose that these techniques ought to begin with authoritarian considerations, but ought to consist of in-flight countermeasures as well as both pre- and post-flight involvements. The jeopardy and reimbursement of each method should be watchfully considered and balanced.

Literature Review

Fatigue and Aviation Accidents

The major reason of many flight accidents are considered to be mostly due to the human fatigue. It is almost as high as 20-30% of the transport accidents that occur. Whereas, on the other hand, in the commercial flights the estimated accidents of about 70% take place due to human error so it indicates that the fatigue factor of the crew have a contribution of about 15-20% in the accidents rate. Some of the examples are as follow:

1993 Kalitta International, DC-8-61F at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

1997 Korean Air, 747-300 at Guam

1999 American Airlines, MD-82 at Little Rock, AR

2004 MK Airlines, 747-200F at Halifax, Nova Scotia

2004 Corporate Airlines, BAE Jetstream31 at Kirksville, USA

2004 Med Air, Learjet35A at San Bernadino, CA

2005 Loganair, B-N Islander at Machrihanish, UK

2006, 27th Aug, Comair, CRJ100 at Lexington, KY

2007, 25th June, Cathay Pacific 747F at Stockholm, Sweden

2007, 28th Oct, JetX, 737-800TF-JXF Keflavik airport, Iceland (FAA, 2008).

Fatigue Management and Countermeasures

Organization of fatigue needs an incorporated plan that addresses the necessities of all concerned in an operational situation. Organization assurance, education and preparation, and program completion/management make up some of the mechanisms of a victorious fatigue management program. As with any protection management program, the proposal to tackle fatigue must have untiring and perceptible assistance from the top management. Adequate supply allocation must be committed to make certain the accomplishment of a program. Senior executives must be involved with the structure and administration of their company's fatigue management programs. With the purpose of implementing an effective program it is important to get the necessary education, knowledge and training (Caldwell et al., 2010).

The instructional training for all worker levels must include fatigue basics, clear suggestions for countermeasures, as well as detail out precise industry knowledge. All workers need to comprehend how their contribution in the institute can cross points with the countermeasures program. Intervallic education and refinement is required for these fatigue programs. Program efficiency metrics should be considered to gauge the goodness of the program and its efficiency. The outcome from these assessments should then be used to filter the program and it could further enhance the efficacy (FAA, 2008).

Fatigue countermeasures can be considered as having majorly two wide tactics that include avoidance and improvement. Avoidance seeks to lessen and eliminates the fatigue via effective procedures such as essential sleep health knowledge, a very good sleep hygiene, and adequate sleep quality and amount.

Mitigation tries to fight the fatigue more in the real equipped environment and thus offers procedures to deal with the beginning of fatigue while working. Environmental lighting, restricted slumbering, and caffeine use are instances of fatigue mitigation tactics (FAA, 2008).

Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS)

Modern studies and researches have now provided us with the development of Fatigue Risk Management Systems (FRMS). The concept of fatigue management is very much similar to the frame work of Safety Management Systems (SMS). FRMS has a pivotal role to perform and it provides structure and guidance to ensure that Fatigue Risk Management is applied effectively. The safety of its crew members is entirely dependent upon the organization alongside the effective implementation of the Fatigue Risk Management policy.

The policy very well describes the operator's commitment, governance and responsibility inclusive of the following:

• Educate the people and spread awareness in them through training programs for the flight management crew. Make sure they understand the concept of FRMS.

• There should be a proper process for recognizing, recording and studying fatigue risk and should also shed some light upon the various knowledge outlets on fatigue (Alertness Solution, 2009).

• A proper process should be designed to monitor fatigue in flight crew including collecting and analyzing.

• Also a process should be designed for reporting, investigating, and recording incidents that are capable of building fatigue.

• Lastly accepting policies, protections and processes for the data that has to be used including the management of the data bases.

There are software that support FMRS activities. Plenty of organizations offer these software packages. This software majorly makes an input of job schedules, personnel's resting period, and later on delivers an output that reflects personnel effectiveness. This output is later used to develop job schedules which reduce the amount of fatigue-induced safety events.

The fatigue sources provide a linkage to two of the companies (a linkage to the software providers in no way take the form of an endorsement of any sort, the references and the quotations are strictly restricted to studying reasons only.

Presently the data gathered for the fatigue research and FRMS program, safety administration of airline crews, air training groups, ATC, and maintenance can now easily develop effectual fatigue counter measure programs.


Research Philosophy

Science has given a lot of help, along with the concept of positivism, to the researchers as it would help them to achieve the absolute truth and thus one can direct his or her actions in a proper and better way. A positivist will forever rely on shaping the natural laws via undeviating assessment and management. The majority of positivist debate revolves around the fact that the problem of neutrality was an instilled feature of a human being who used scientific approaches. At the same time they also argue that no one can ever be truly objective as far as the view point is concerned with respect to the experience and so resulting in a belief that all the viewpoints are subjective in nature. They categorized these conclusions as unbiased as a social experience only (Trochim, 2006). This particular post positivist point-of-view is very appropriate in fulfilling the reason and purpose of this particular study on shift work schedules in aviations and so as a result this particular study will use post positivism as the core philosophy.

Research Approach

As asserted by Trochim (2006), there are two basic approaches of conducting modern research: the first is deductive and the other one is inductive. Deductive…[continue]

Some Sources Used in Document:


Cite This Essay:

"Shift Work" (2013, March 12) Retrieved December 5, 2016, from

"Shift Work" 12 March 2013. Web.5 December. 2016. <>

"Shift Work", 12 March 2013, Accessed.5 December. 2016,

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