Software to measure the fatigue risk of shift workers

Written by admin on February 13, 2013

UCDS partnered with Circadian to offer a software tool that allows customers to measure the fatigue risk of shift workers. This allows management to schedule the right workers during the right shift to reduce the risk of a fatigue related incident.

Press release:

Shift Worker and Fatigue (measuring the Risk)

Operator fatigue is a critical safety issue that cuts across all modes and operations in our industry. Every day, operators and managers must cope with unusual and difficult work schedules and the reality of operator fatigue. Fatigue may produce physical and mental decrements in alertness, vigilance, and decision-making that can increase the risk of human error and result in fatalities and injuries. However, the incidence of fatigue is underestimated in virtually every industry because it is hard to quantify and measure. Recognizing that fatigue management requires major changes in both organizational culture and operator behavior, we are focused on facing these challenges. We bring together the expertise of government, industry, and labor to create solutions to aid in understanding and managing shift worker fatigue. Some experts recommend limiting the number of consecutive working days to five, six or seven days depending on the length of the workday. Some recommend limiting 8-hour shifts to a maximum of seven in a row, and 12-hour shifts to four in a row. Many factors have to be considered, when you’re looking for the best candidate to work overtime or cover a shift and risk factor can be hard to calculate.

•           Duration of Working Time
•           Time Off Between Shifts
•           Time Off Between Blocks of Work Days
•           Long Breaks Before Returning To Work
•           Duration of Shifts
•           Fixed or Rotating Shifts
•           Speed and Direction of Rotation
•           Start and End of Shifts

Risk factor is very important when creating schedules. That’s why UCDS Incorporated partnered with Circadian, to bring our customers a solution. A tool that can calculate the fatigue score and compare it to other workers, allowing management to staff positions with the most alert and ready to work candidates.

CIRCADIAN®, the leader in Fatigue Risk Management Software and User Centered Design Services now offer the only complete suite of web-based software tools for Fatigue Risk Management Systems. Our Fatigue Risk Management Software provides all three required levels of FRMS control:

Schedule Compliance Analyzer™
•           Determine if a work schedule conforms with “Hours of Service” and “Work-Rest rules”
•           Specially tailored versions for RP-755, and other industry and government FRMS standards and “Hours of Work rules”
•           Asses scheduling alternatives (e.g., who’s available for OT? Is that shift swap OK?)•

Level 2 – RISK:
Schedule Fatigue Risk Analyzer™
•           Instantly determine if a work schedule is creating excessive and costly fatigue risk
•           Utilizes Circadian’s scientifically-validated CAS-5 fatigue modeling platform to provide an objective Fatigue Risk Score
•           With a fatigue score your schedulers can see not only who could work…but who should work

Fatigue Accident/Incident Causation Testing System (FACTS™)
•           Allows managers to determine if employee fatigue contributed to the causation of an accident/incident or workplace error
•           Scientifically-validated tool for incident and accident investigation work
•           Store, analyze and benchmark all your fatigue risk data in a secure database
•           Capture the true cost and impact fatigue is having on your operation

It’s not just a way to be safer, every FRMS rule or standard requires that you evaluate fatigue risk and take active steps to:
•           Track fatigue
•           Manage it
•           And reduce incidents and errors caused by employee fatigue.

To do this efficiently and effectively requires specially-designed, scientifically-validated, software tools that not only test for work-rest rule compliance (Level 1) but also assess work schedule fatigue risk (Level 2) and evaluate fatigue as a potential cause in incidents and accidents (Level 3).

We can also help educate on fatigue risks and build a FRMS plan through our onsite workshop. To reach a compromise between operational constraints and shift worker productivity, the involvement of both labor and management is essential when developing and implementing a safe productive schedule. Moreover, the participation of a neutral – subject matter expert – has proved extremely beneficial in providing objectivity, technical, and facilitation support, as well as managing the conflicting interests to achieve an acceptable compromise. Management has a substantial opportunity to reduce the costs, risks and liabilities of extended hours operations. When we focus on employee involvement in the shift schedule and implement automated scheduling solutions to assist with the day-to-day management of the schedule, we can reduce fatigue, increase productivity, and contribute to good situation awareness practices.

On another note, API 755: As a result the 2005 BP Texas City incident, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recommends that you develop a Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS) that, at a minimum, limits the hours and days of work and contains a methodology for your shift work schedules. We offer a program to that will educate your team on FRMS and fatigue management. We can examine your current schedule practices, interview shift workers, and recommend changes that will reduce the costs, risks and liabilities of extended hours operations. Our workshop includes the development of the Fatigue Risk Management System that is compliant with API 755 and provides guidance on the number of consecutive days that can be worked before a minimum amount of time off is required. This applies to 8, 10 and 12 hour shifts and addresses normal operations, outages and extended shifts.

Contact us today for a software demo.

© 2013 User Centered Design Services


UCDS has in-depth experience in designing control rooms and modifying existing field shelters. Our process is compliant with the ISO 11064 Ergonomic Design Standard for Control Buildings. We interview management, supervision and a significant group of the operators to understand functional requirements, what works well in the existing environment, and identification and correction of problems with the existing design. To learn more Click Here


Situation Awareness

Abnormal situations encompass a range of events outside the “normal” plant operating modes, e.g. trips, fires, explosions, toxic releases or just not reaching planned targets. In the past incidents such as Piper Alpha, Milford Haven, Flixborough, Texas City and the 2003 northeast electrical blackout have all been attributed, at least in part, to a fundamental lack of good situational awareness. Early work of the Abnormal Situation Management Consortium® included a survey of the US petrochemical industry. Based on their research the consortium estimates industry losses of around $20 billion per year from abnormal situations, approximately equal to the total annual profits of that industry. Furthermore these studies indicate that companies achieving Best Practices in operations can improve productivity by 5-12%. To learn more Click Here


Fatigue Alertness Management

We have many customers looking to enhance their shift handover procedures and follow some of the Recommended Practices identified in the API documents; others are focusing attention on fatigue and fatigue countermeasures. We have great solutions for both these topics. For more details please contact Steve Maddox. To learn more Click Here



User Centered Design Services promotes Behavior – Based Safety which is a process that helps employees identify and choose safe behavior over an unsafe one. Safety in the workplace is a combination of three measurable components – the person their environment, and their behavior. To learn more Click Here

About the Control Room Operator Performance Group

The purpose of this group is to share ideas and solutions that contribute to improving the performance of the control room operator. Abnormal situations can be managed safely and effectively if we provide our operators with the right training, workload, environment, and interfaces.