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Fatigue in Transport

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Background & Policy context

Fatigue causes sleepiness and is detrimental to vigilance, attention, recall, reaction time and hand-eye coordination (Caldwell et al. 2009; Gall 2006). Increasing demands of modern life means that the prevalence of fatigue in the working population is increasing (Jettinghoff et al. 2005). Long, irregular shifts and highly monotonous tasks make many transport operators particularly vulnerable to fatigue.

Relatively little empirical work has been done to characterise fatigue and sleepiness as a problem in the Norwegian transport sector and this is a reason for creation of this project. 


The primary aim of this project is to improve the knowledge base for the regulation and management of fatigue and reduced vigilance in transport operators in Norway.

The secondary aims are to assemble knowledge on the prevalence, causes, outcomes and management of fatigue and reduced vigilance across transport sectors in Norway today; to chart in-depth the problem of fatigue and reduced vigilance in seafarers working on Norwegian vessels and to provide an in-depth demonstration of how fatigue influences accident risks at sea; to robustly evaluate a demonstration FMP (Fatigue Management Programme) implemented in a high-profile organisation with a large road fleet; to provide a tool to explain how fatigue management measures should be selected, according to different organisational contingencies; and to document the contribution of monotonous tasks to reduced vigilance in safety and security across transport sectors in Norway.


The research activities are divided into four work packages:

WP1. Literature review, followed by interviews with key industry resources and a small scale survey across the sectors.

WP2. Large-scale survey of the sea sector and Bayesian and cognitive reliability and error analysis of international incidents on the seas.

WP3. Before-after evaluation of basic fatigue management intervention in a large car fleet, with a control group.

WP4. Literature review and tool development.


Other Programme


The project gathered information about the scope, determinants, consequences and management of sleepiness in transport in Norway, with a focus on human operators. It includes an evaluation of a demonstration fatigue management program, implemented in a leading firm with a large car pool. It also identified risks and problems linked especially to sleepiness and reduced vigilance in seafarers working on Norwegian ships.

Other results


Human fatigue's effect on the risk of maritime groundings - A Bayesian Network modeling approach

Reducing the probability of ship grounding: which measure to undertake?




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