Research & reports

Title: Interviews with Operators, Regulators and Researchers with Experience of Implementing Fatigue Risk Management Systems

Organisation: Department for Transport
Date uploaded: 1st December 2011
Date published/launched: September 2010

The aim of the project was to explore the possibility that Fatigue Risk Management Systems could improve the management of professional driver fatigue in the UK road transport industry.

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In 2008, the Department for Transport commissioned Clockwork Research to conduct a worldwide review of Fatigue Risk Management Systems (FRMS). A FRMS is a Safety Management System (SMS), or part of a SMS, that manages fatigue via risk-based processes. The aim of the project was to explore the possibility that FRMS could improve the management of professional driver fatigue in the UK road transport industry.

The first part of the project involved a review of academic papers and other relevant literature on FRMS, including industry reports and regulatory guidance. The literature review is published separately (Fourie et al., 2009). Part two of the project, reported in this document, considers the practical experience of FRMS. Regulators, operators and researchers with knowledge or experience of FRMS were interviewed to identify what they felt were the pros and cons of FRMS. The participants were also asked for advice on how to implement an effective FRMS. Subsequently, members of the UK road transport industry were consulted to gauge their enthusiasm for FRMS and to identify any local factors that would need to be taken into consideration if FRMS were introduced in the UK.

Most participants were enthusiastic about FRMS and the possibility that they could improve the management of fatigue. They provided some evidence that FRMS has improved safety, for example reduced accident rates, as well as other benefits, such as improved staff morale and reduced absenteeism. However, a number of participants pointed out that there is a scarcity of objective data demonstrating the benefits of FRMS. The only disadvantages of FRMS cited by more than one participant were the difficulties associated with changing regulatory approach and the perceived potential for FRMS to be abused by unscrupulous operators.

The process of developing, implementing and maintaining an FRMS should be made as simple as possible without compromising the science that underpins FRMS. To this end, it is recommended that guidance documentation on FRMS is produced for operators. The material should be straightforward, jargon-free, engaging and non-academic. Case studies, graphics and video should be used to enhance the usability of the material, where possible.

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Clockwork Research Ltd
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