The Future of Managing Fatigue
The transport industry, including commercial road transport, aviation, an Paper on d the maritime transportation, is required to operate consistently for 24 hours a day. The sea farers in particular, are assumed and expected to be capable of working long hours and managing fatigue efficiently. The International Labor Organization (ILO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) have developed prescriptive work and rest hours for individuals working in the maritime industry (Grech 175). The current stipulations highlight that the maximum work duration should be 14 hours within a 24-hour day, which translates to 72 hours in a week (Grech 175). While the specified work time durations are used as the measures for fatigue control among the sea farers, the effectiveness of time control as a measure of fatigue is contestable assertion.
With the present-day economic conditions, most of the shipping companies face intense competition in the market place, prompting company owners to seek cost-reduction strategies. For instance, some of them reduce the number of staff as a measure for cutting costs (Grech 175). Those who work as sea-farers in such an environment have to contend with long work hours, far beyond the maximum recommended efforts. Other factors such as the length of the sea passage, the trading patterns at sea, port rotations, and the duration of stay at any given occupation affects the quality of work done by the sea farers. In most cases, the workload increases significantly, and therefore, time is overruled as a possible determinant for fatigue. In other cases, reduced staffing results in faster shift rotations, greater workloads, interrupted sleeping, poor eating patterns, and social isolation among other impacts, contributing to the increase of fatigue (Grech 175). As such, addressing the issue of fatigue among sea farers has to go beyond the conventional limitation on work durations to include practices that can be used to monitor rest periods and the workloads per person.
One of the challenges of dealing with fatigue in the maritime environment is the attitude that “fatigue comes with the job” (Grech 175). This attitude results in lack of initiative even among the sea farers to fight for their rights and to push for better working conditions. Long working hours and general fatigue has been established to have several outcomes including sea accidents. Furthermore, fatigue can result in poor work practices which result in environmental pollution among other effects (Grech 175). It is, thus, essential to not only identify the causes of fatigue in the maritime environment but to also find sustainable solutions to the same.
Managing fatigue in the maritime environment should begin with an attitudinal change. Most sea farers consider long work hours to be the norm, whereas few regard taking additional responsibilities when they should be resting as an offense. Thus, a change in their attitudes would help them begin the process towards liberation form fatigue. Additionally, shipping companies have to be encouraged to engage more people rather than employing fewer people and overworking them. More sea farers will then be able to rest longer hours and to work more efficiently and without unnecessary fatigue.
Grech, Michelle Rita. Fatigue Risk Management: A Maritime Framework. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 13, no. 2, 2016, p. 175 – 183. doi: 10.3390/ijerph13020175