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Fatigue “the most frequently identified issue” for flight attendants says FAA Report

Crew fatigue is the most frequently cited safety risk for cabin crew, according to a recent report by the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute.

As a result of reviewing more than 1800 surveys the authors conclude that fatigue was the most frequently addressed topic and that this finding held firm across all operation types and levels of crew seniority.

The top 5 reported issues all related specifically to fatigue, fatigue contributors and fatigue safety risks and included:

  • Being fatigued/exhausted;
  • Rest periods that are too short;
  • Inconsistent scheduling or early reports;
  • Not considering the impact of delays when scheduling;
  • Not receiving adequate sleep/rest; and
  • The impact of fatigue on safety and performance.

Junior cabin crew identified “too many legs/segments” as an issue more frequently than senior-level FAs, while senior cabin crew more frequently reported “insufficient number of breaks/ amount of time for breaks” as an issue.

The report’s authors suggest that future research could focus on more specific operational issues (i.e. number of segments, complexity of the aircraft fleet, and complexity of position) and how they impact fatigue. The study also recommends further research into the underlying causes for differences between seniority levels.

Source: FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute Report (October 2011)

A full copy of the report is available here