Prevention can be done both by the mechanic and maintenance supervision. The success of operations depends on workers’ ability to perform jobs both reliably and efficiently. Preventing fatigue ensures this.
A good way to start, on behalf of the maintenance supervisor, is to set specific work hour limitations. Shifts should be limited to a length no longer than 12 hours including overtime. In addition, there should be at least 11 hours between each shift for time to recover before the next. A weekly maximum of 48 to 60 work hours, including overtime, would also help to prevent fatigue.
Such limitations on hours may be difficult to live by, especially with the seemingly more noticeable shortage of maintenance professionals. Having mechanics cover the unmanned shifts or jobs may seem like a good idea until they end up missing work because of a cold they fell victim to due to their lowered immune system as a result of fatigue.
In addition to limiting work hours, developing a safety oriented culture will also help to encourage workers from working beyond what their abilities will allow. Hangar supervisors should be sure that mechanics are informed of the symptoms and causes for fatigue, along with the potential risks involved when working in a fatigued state.
Information can be transmitted through educational programs and training. The workplace can also be modified to keep workers alert by using bright lights, maintaining comfortable hangar temperatures, limiting high levels of noise, and providing a variety of tasks to be completed. It is also a good practice to continuously watch for symptoms of fatigue in others and warn them when something catches your attention.
The FAA currently holds restrictions on the work hours of pilots, but not control tower or maintenance employees. It is up to hangar supervisors and mechanics themselves to be sure that they are protecting themselves and the safety of others.
The need for safety never tires
Fatigue in maintenance is related not only to inadequate sleep and rest but also to other factors such as light, noise, temperature, and even vibration.
Fatigue Differences can be day & night By Steve Staedler May 2000 The difference can literally be day and night. For Cal Brockmann, aviation technician and safety representative for...
Human Factors Why and how it can affect your performance By Barb Zuehlke You’re working second shift, trying to complete some do-it-yourself projects around the house, and...