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An assessment of studies of human fatigue in land and sea transport

Authors: Ross Owen Phillips
Report nr: 1354/2014
ISBN (digital version): 978-82-480-1565-9
Language: English
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Despite technological developments, human operator fatigue continues to threaten safe transport by road, sea, rail and air. The current report hopes to help improve research progress and application by reviewing research on fatigue in operators working in road, sea and rail, and assessing its quality (i) in relation to a broad operationalization of fatigue; and (ii) by structuring the findings using a fatigue-risk trajectory. The review finds that while the focus of studies is influenced by the transport sector of interest, there is good coverage of the effects of working time on sleep, sleepiness and experienced fatigue. However, progress towards an understanding of fatigue in transport is restricted by a range of different but narrow conceptualisations of the construct. Important contributors and outcomes to fatigue have also been overlooked. Our recommendations include that future studies employ a standard test battery for broader fatigue, and that they account for recovery from work during non-work life and the longer-term safety impacts of operator burnout. Better management of the risks of fatigue in transport requires that future studies address important knowledge gaps by attending to the broader concept of fatigue.


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