A Preliminary Review of Fatigue Among Rail Staff

Article English OPEN
Fan, Jialin ; Smith, Andrew P. (2018)

Background: Fatigue is a severe problem in the rail industry, which may jeopardize train crew's health and safety. Nonetheless, a preliminary review of all empirical evidence for train crew fatigue is still lacking. The aim of the present paper is, therefore, to provide a preliminary description of occupational fatigue in the rail industry. This paper reviews the literature with the research question examining the risk factors associated with train crew fatigue, covering both papers published in refereed journals and reports from trade organizations and regulators. It assesses the progress of research on railway fatigue, including research on the main risk factors for railway fatigue, the association between fatigue and railway incidents, and how to better manage fatigue in the railway industry.\ud \ud Methods: Systematic searches were performed in both science and industry databases. The searches considered studies published before August 2017. The main exclusion criterion was fatigue not being directly measured through subjective or objective methods.\ud \ud Results: A total of 31 studies were included in the main review. The causes of fatigue included long working hours, heavy workload, early morning or night shifts, and insufficient sleep. Poor working environment, particular job roles, and individual differences also contributed to fatigue.\ud \ud Conclusion: Fatigue in the rail industry includes most of the features of occupational fatigue, and it is also subject to industry-specific factors. The effect of fatigue on well-being and the fatigued population in the railway industry are still not clear. Future studies can consider associations between occupational risk factors and perceived fatigue by examining the prevalence of fatigue and identifying the potential risk factors in staff within the railway industry.
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