What links the Chernobyl nuclear accident, Zeebrugge ferry disaster and the Clapham Junction rail crash? Sadly, the answer is operator error as a result of extreme fatigue.
In all cases workers and operators were being required to perform high-risk safety related tasks having worked extremely long hours.
Companies operating within a wide range of sectors, including rail, have historically been subject to their own sets of regulations and guidance on the management of fatigue, given the intense focus required for repetitive, monotonous, but safety critical, tasks that drivers/engineers and other workers are required to perform over long shifts.
The issue of fatigue should not be limited to industries with links to past disasters or accidents and should be addressed by all employers, in keeping with their duties under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
For some useful tips on managing fatigue in the workplace read this short article from Safety and Health Practitioner