Fatigue News

Ottawa warns of dangerously exhausted train crews as Alberta ramps up oil-by-rail

An internal Transport Canada document warns of the safety risks posted by exhausted crew members on trains, even as Alberta pursues a plan to ratchet up already-booming shipments of oil-by-rail.

Federal work rules in the rail industry, dating from 2002, "are not effective in preventing fatigue due to work schedules and do not adequately mitigate the risks of fatigue," says the May 2018 memo.

"… fatigue is managed by a patchwork of approaches, most of which are outside TC's [Transport Canada's] control."

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NTSB says “The Captain and the First Officer were fatigued during the incident flight…”

The report on Air Canada’s 2017 San Francisco taxiway overflight was recently published by the NTSB[1] and, as I suspected[2], fatigue likely played a role.

The NTSB concluded that the pilots were fatigued due to two main fatigue risk factors, Continuous Wakefulness[3], and Circadian Rhythm effects[4]. Consistent with a strong fatigue investigation methodology, the NTSB showed that not only were the pilots fatigued, but that fatigue likely played a role in the taxiway overflight.  Misidentification of the runway, difficulty in changing the course of action (due to expectation bias) and a delayed decision to go around were all linked to fatigue in the NTSB report.

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