Issues to Consider when Launching a Program of Fatigue Management
By now everyone should be convinced 1) that fatigue can be a real problem in aviation and other transportation settings, 2) that impaired alertness stems from genuine physical/biological limitations that cannot be overcome through training or motivational incentives, and 3) that there are in fact scientifically valid methods for managing alertness in both civil and military aviation. Really, the bottom line is that most of the ‘fatigue problem’ could be resolved simply by ensuring that everyone gets enough sleep. But, as we all know, there are a host of societal, economic, and attitudinal barriers to creating a world in which sleep receives the attention it deserves in operational settings. Interestingly enough, it has recently become apparent that formal fatigue-management policies are not even being used in many of the sleep-disorders centers and sleep-research laboratories that are providing all of the information about the seriousness of the problem! How can commercial airlines and military units be expected to correctly address the issue of fatigue if the experts are not doing it in their own organizations?