A study of factors that contribute to maritime fatigue Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/08612s215

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  • Many advances have been made to shipping and the maritime industry over the last century. Despite these advances, errors that lead to injuries, accidents, and catastrophes continue to occur. Fatigue has been identified as a major contributor to these incidents. The purpose of this study was to determine the leading causes of fatigue for mariners and specifically, for deck watch officers (DWO's). The maritime industry is unique in that mariners are required to live and work on ships for an extended period of time. Questionnaires and face-to-face interviews were used to study the relationship between sleep, the work environment and fatigue. The questionnaire addressed the occurrence and causes of fatigue, quality and quantity of sleep, electronics/automation and current regulations. Through analysis of the data, the leading causes of fatigue for DWO's were found to be lack of sleep and sleeping at inconsistent times. Sleep environment, including darkness/lighting, temperature, noise, vibration, and ship motion were also studied and found to have little to no effect on sleep quality and subsequently fatigue. Today's ships are very sophisticated and well-equipped with navigation and communication aids. Contrary to previous studies, electronics and automation was found to be helpful during both routine and emergency situations. The current U. S. and international regulations were established in an effort to reduce fatigue by requiring minimum hours of rest. These regulations seem to be adequate according to the participants in this study; however, these regulations are difficult to enforce and regulations alone will not increase safety. In conclusion, this study found that advances in technology have reduced the number of personnel on the bridge and subsequently, increased the workload for DWO's. With the multitude of duties and responsibilities DWO's have, current staffing levels are not adequate for ensuring proper rest. Regulations that address hours of rest for mariners are adequate, however, they should also address dynamic schedules and human physiology.
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