Our world today operates at a much different pace from a hundred years ago. Through the advent of automation and technology, we are able to reach out to the world in real time. We can work from home, our car, the office, or the coffee shop at any time, day or night. We may work flexible shifts, extended shifts, night shifts, rotating shifts, split shifts, swing shifts or simply 9–5. The reality is, today's world operates in 24 hours. What we do with those 24 hours predicts what we'll be able to do in the next 24 hours and beyond.
From an organizational perspective, it is imperative to understand how they utilize their workforce to meet the 24 hour demands of society and a global economy. Unfortunately many businesses believe that simply having a body present with (hopefully) their eyes open is enough to fill the roster and get the work done. What they fail to understand is that being awake does not necessarily equate to alertness and subsequently, optimal performance.
Furthermore, management often assumes that fatigue is controllable by the individual and out of the hands of the employer. This is a short-sighted and a misguided belief.
There is nothing simple about fatigue. It is very much a complex issue thus requiring a multilevel approach that is driven by a formal management system.
Introducing a Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS)
A management system is a set of guiding principles that form the strategic framework for your fatigue management program. Incorporating a systems approach is a switch from the more traditional "person" approach. The person approach concentrates on human error and tends to lay blame on worker behaviours such as forgetfulness, inattention, carelessness, and neglection of procedures.