AWO Releases Fatigue Risk Management Guide

tow boat

By The Maritime Executive 10-22-2018 06:59:46

The American Waterways Operators has released a new safety resource: Developing a Fatigue Risk Management Plan: A Guide for Towing Vessel Operators

Designed to help towing companies take a proactive approach to fatigue prevention by incorporating fatigue risk management plans into their safety management systems, the guide was recently endorsed by the Coast Guard-AWO Safety Partnership's National Quality Steering Committee.

The guide is the latest milestone in AWO's two-decade effort to reduce the risk of fatigue-related accidents in the towing industry, working in cooperation with the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and internationally renowned sleep experts. The NTSB has called for increased use of such plans throughout the transportation industry as one of its Most Wanted Safety Improvements for 2017-2018.

Fatigue risk management plans take a comprehensive, customized approach to addressing fatigue risk factors within a company, as recommended by the NTSB and the National Academy of Sciences' Transportation Research Board. The implementation of fatigue risk management plans was a key recommendation of a 2015 TRB report, Enhancing Sleep Efficiency on Vessels in the Tug/Towboat/Barge Industry, authored by sleep experts from Northwestern University's Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology. 

The Guide encourages towing companies to evaluate their operating environment for fatigue risks and identify policies and procedures already in place to mitigate these risks. From there, a company can use the guide to link existing fatigue mitigation measures into a comprehensive fatigue risk management plan and identify and implement additional practices, controls and other tools to close gaps or expand their current efforts. These include educating crewmembers about the effects of fatigue, improving the sleep environment on board vessels, establishing fatigue reporting protocols and measuring the effectiveness of fatigue prevention efforts.

The Guide is available here.