Night shift incident prompts consideration of FRMS for Air Traffic Controllers
A recent NTSB report detailing how a tower controller fell asleep during the night shift has led to talk of FRMS being applied to air traffic controllers.
Dr. Curt Graeber, an aviation safety and human performance consultant, chaired the ICAO Task Force whose work led this summer to the release of guidelines for airlines and regulators to implement FRMS as an alternative to the current practice of flight and duty time limitations for pilots and cabin crews. Although the new ICAO Fatigue Risk Management Systems (FRMS) requirements relate to flight and cabin crew, the methodology has been designed to be ‘broadly applicable’ to all safety-critical personnel. However, as there is nothing specifically in place for ATC’s, Dr. Graeber questioned whether ICAO should go straight to FRMS or whether they should first develop prescriptive limits.
“We’re not there yet and discussions to date have centred on examining if we could apply it. The point about the FRMS methodology being broadly applicable is that there is now a recognition that by applying different data and the latest knowledge, you could determine better how controllers are scheduled and how they work. There has been talk at director level that we should look at this. When and how they are going to do that remains to be seen although there have been some preliminary discussions. It has significant attention at ICAO level although there are lots of competing areas such as an FRMS for maintenance engineering,” said Dr. Graeber.
Source: Air Traffic Management
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