Fatigue Management Program Module 2 – Is the truck company’s program working?

This is a summary of Module 2 yawning driverof the North American Fatigue Management Program (NAFMP). This module includes five lessons plus a summary designed to help motor carrier executives, transportation directors, and safety managers implement Fatigue Management Programs, or FMPs.

These lessons, particularly lesson 5, provide an outline of areas lawyers may wish to explore with a safety manager or company owner during a deposition.

Lesson 1: A successful FMP relies largely on creating a safety culture, which is experiential. It includes personal factors (attitude and beliefs about safety), environmental factors (safe equipment and systems) and behavior. Safety culture specifically applied to fatigue management implementing policies, procedures, training and education, processes to report and investigate fatigue and fatigue risk management evaluation.

Lesson 2:Fatigue management is a shared responsibility from top-down control to bottom-up involvement. Safety and fatigue are values that should never be compromised due to new deadlines. Management should discuss fatigue first or second in meetings to show it is important. It should demonstrate how fatigue affects truck drivers. It is important to develop trust and communication by having open non-punitive communication to remind management and employees about the importance of fatigue management.

Lesson 3: Employee empowerment does not have to mean sharing authority, but rather an employee’s perception of personal involvement and worth to the company. There are three factors that give a sense of empowerment: self-efficacy, personal control and optimism. Self-efficacy is a belief that “I can do it myself.” Companies help develop this in drivers by providing education about why fatigue management is important and the skills required to reduce fatigued driving. Personal control is a belief that “I am in control.” Companies help develop this in drivers by eliciting and addressing specific comments and feedback about its FMP. Optimism is a belief that “I expect the best.” Companies should actively listen to program feedback and incorporate feedback into the FMP. This all requires training and commitment from the company for driver development.

Lesson 4: Changing corporate culture can occur when top management has “buy-in” and just doesn’t pay lip service. This occurs when top management attends and participates in FMP meeting and are actively involved in providing feedback, praise and recognition. Top management should follow the FMP like other employees to model the desired behavior. Evaluate the current state of the company by talking with employees and create bench marks. Create a steering committee for the FMP that includes a driver advisory council. The first task of the committee is a safety vision. It should develop performance-based (exceeding hours of service) and outcome-based measures (no crashes) and quantitatively and qualitatively continually measure these areas. It should develop policies to recognize specific fatigue-related behavior

Lesson 5: Specific measurement includes the amount of time exercising each week, the percentage of FMP meetings attended, feedback given, and time using CPAP or BiPAP machine. Determine subjective perception about how drivers feel about the FMP to learn if drivers believe that management really supports the FMP, if drivers believe in it, if drivers believe policies are fair and if they have felt recognized for goal accomplishment. Specific outcome measurement includes:

  • Sleep duration—number of hours slept without waking, longest duration of sleep and number of hours slept in 24-hour period
  • Sleep quality—subjectively measured (questionnaires) and objectively (actigraphy can be accomplished through a device that looks like a wrist watch), drivers perception of feeling rested after sleeping, snoring, percentage of time spent sleeping in bed
  • Alertness—frequency of driver becoming sleepy while driving, performance measures such of lane change and vehicle control, head nodding, eye movement, frequency of inattention and percent of time the driver feels alert
  • Job satisfaction—behavioral (e.g. smiling), perceived satisfaction (questionnaire), turnover, involvement in FMP and pledged commitment to the FMP
  • Injuries—number of injuries in crashes in which fatigue was a contributing factor, number of other fatigue-related injuries (such as slip and falls), health-related injuries related to fatigue (cardiovascular disease), percent of fatigue-related injuries compared to non-fatigue and overall number of injuries reported
  • Violations—number of hours of service violations
  • Crashes—number of crashes where driver fell asleep, where driver was drowsy, where hours of service violations existed and percentage of crashes during circadian lows
  • Sick leave—fatigue can lead to sick days; number of sick days related to fatigue

To download Module 2, go to http://www.nafmp.org/en/downloads.html.

Michael Leizerman is a lawyer and truck safety advocate who has handled truck accident cases involving fatigue, false log books, distracted driving, road rage and other fatigue-related circumstances.

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