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PostHeaderIcon ... Understanding sleep

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The importance of sleep in our 24-hour routine is unquestionable. It is often simplified to a time frame, within which we fall asleep, thus hopefully rest so we can have another effective day. There is however, a lot more to sleep than just a lull time period, when little else but rest gets accomplished. Sleep science has evolved over the last 7 decades or so, into an elaborate research that is hoping to explain a number of human ailments. In this article however, the main focus is on sleep and how it relates to our performance. Performance not necessarily viewed as a simple OPH (output per hour), but rather a self-conscious and safe state of personal alertness. In turn, it directly relates to our state of fatigue, thus influencing are judgment and ability to respond in an effective and responsible way.

The marine industry, and shipboard work especially, imposes a number of unique challenges, that few of the others do. It is a constant flow of tasks that must be performed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It does not differentiate a week day from a holiday, it knows of no breaks or special rest periods, it implies a work environment with a never ending need for readiness.

Fatigue has been linked to majority of human error based accidents. USCG has officially released data that connects 80% of all marine accidents to a human factor. Whether this was due to a fatigue or an incompetence is for another discussion.

Sleep is a complex function of the human body.

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Below is a brief caption from the University of Vanderbilt research project on Inclusion of Fatigue Effects in Human Reliability Analysis:

Last Updated (Wednesday, 24 July 2013 03:57)

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PostHeaderIcon ... Australian Labor Union's stance on lifeboat drills

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It has long been my own position, that lifeboat drills should not require any personnel in the lifeboat during lowering or hoisting operations. While we can all agree that lifeboats / launching davits have evolved into a better & safer design, the danger of failing remained almost intact and such operations should always be deemed as one of the most dangerous tasks a seaman must undertake during his tour of duty. Still, it is a common occurrence these days, that some ship operators and/or masters require such personnel to be placed inside the lifeboat prior to lowering into the water.

Here is a photo of a lifeboat that came down crushing, killing 2 and seriously injuring 3 others.

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AIMPE (Australian Institute of Marine & Power Engineers, a labor union) has taken a strong stance on the subject. Download the full version of AIMPE letter.

Last Updated (Friday, 09 October 2009 21:36)

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PostHeaderIcon ... Where does NTSB stand on the fatigue issue

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Here is an interesting finding on the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) web site.

... The Safety Board has long been concerned about the issue of operator fatigue in transportation and has stressed its concerns in investigation reports issued throughout the 1970s and 1980s.  In 1989, the Board issued three recommendations to the Secretary of Transportation calling for research, education, and revisions to existing regulations.  These recommendations were added to the Board’s Most Wanted List in 1990, and the issue of fatigue has remained on the Most Wanted List since then.  The Safety Board’s 1999 safety study of DOT efforts to address operator fatigue continued to show that this problem was widespread.  Operating a vehicle without the operator’s having adequate rest, in any mode of transportation, presents an unnecessary risk to the traveling public.

Safety Board recommendations on the issue of human fatigue and hours-of-work policies have had a substantial effect on encouraging the modal agencies to conduct research and take actions towards understanding the complex problem of operator fatigue in transportation and how it can affect operator performance ...

It further reads:

Last Updated (Friday, 09 October 2009 02:40)

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