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New crew fatigue rules come into effect

New fatigue rules come into effect across Europe

18th February, 2016

Today’s the day…after two years of preparation, the European Commercial Air Transport (CAT) industry finally moves over to a fully harmonised set of rules designed to improve the way CAT operators manage crew fatigue. Under the new regulations all CAT operators are required to proactively manage the safety risks associated with fatigue – simple compliance with the new rules will not be sufficient. An operator now needs to be able to demonstrate understanding of the specific contributors to fatigue associated with its operations, and to take a more scientific approach to the measurement, monitoring and management of flight and cabin crew fatigue.

The new rules also impose additional training demands on operators. As well as providing a comprehensive fatigue training programme for flight and cabin crew, operators now need to provide training for those responsible for putting together crew schedules, as well as for management concerned. Over the past two years operators throughout Europe have been working hard to bring their office staff up to speed with the new rules and the responsibilities of all parties for managing crew fatigue: in the last 12 months alone Clockwork has delivered over 50 courses on fatigue risk management, compliant with the new rules.

With expert training delivered to all stakeholders within the operation, combined with a robust, mature safety culture that emphasises the importance and value of reporting, it is possible for an operator to meet its responsibilities while also delivering concrete benefits for safety, for crew wellbeing and for the operation as a whole.

But it is not just operators who have had to adapt to this new regime. Many National Aviation Authorities have had to improve their understanding of the science of alertness and fatigue. In addition to having a good appreciation of the principles of FRM, NAA inspectors now have to be able to understand and interpret the fatigue and alertness data that an operator will collect and present to demonstrate that it understands its fatigue risks and is taking appropriate steps to manage these.

Clockwork has been delivering training for NAA officials for the past 3 years, during which time we have trained regulators, auditors and inspectors from more than a dozen authorities across Europe. Our ‘Introduction to Fatigue Risk Management’ course for operators and regulators, delivered through the Joint Aviation Authorities Training Organisation (JAA-TO) has proved very popular. In addition to the standard 2-day course regulators attend a third day during which we discuss in detail the data collected as part of a safety case and demonstrate the tools and methods used to collect and analyse these data. You can find details of the next Clockwork course on Fatigue Risk Management here.