Hours of work and rest in the rail industry.Intern Med J. 2013 Jun; 43(6):717-21.IM
Currently, the National Transport Commission is considering four options to form the regulatory framework for rail safety within Australia with respect to fatigue. While the National Transport Commission currently recommends no limitations around hours of work or rest, we provide evidence which suggests regulatory frameworks should incorporate a traditional hours of service regulation over more flexible policies. Our review highlights: Shift durations >12 h are associated with a doubling of risk for accident and injury. Fatigue builds cumulatively with each successive shift where rest in between is inadequate (<12 h). A regulatory framework for fatigue management within the rail industry should prescribe limits on hours of work and rest, including maximum shift duration and successive number of shifts. Appropriately, validated biomathematical models and technologies may be used as a part of a fatigue management system, to augment the protection afforded by limits on hours of work and rest. A comprehensive sleep disorder screening and management programme should form an essential component of any regulatory framework.