TitleProposals for measures dealing with fatigue in workplaces in safety-critical areas within the railway sector
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsMichelberger, F., and G. Rottermanner
Conference NameThird German Workshop on Rail Human Factors 2018
Conference LocationBraunschweig
AbstractFatigue, microsleep or reduced attention often can occur in situations of routine or within shift working. When these situations occur in an environment where safety-critical activities are required, there is a high risk that due to human error, wrong actions can be done. In the railway sector, this applies above all to the workplaces of train drivers and dispatchers. In order to continue to meet the high level of safety in railway it must be the goal to increase safety in rail operations and minimize dangerous situations caused by microsleep or fatigue. The paper will present results of studies that have been done within these special workplaces dealing with the matter of fatigue and alertness. For the environment of train drivers, an overview of the state-of-the-art of different methods for alertness control currently available on the market will be given. Most of these methods are applied within the automotive sector. In road traffic microsleep is a common cause for accidents. According to a survey in Austria with more than 2,000 motorists interviewed, 14 percent of the respondents already had a microsleep while driving. Many automobile manufacturer offer cars that come standard with systems for monitoring and alerting the driver. The environment in a car is similar to the driver's workplace, but has many different requirements. In addition to the automotive sector, solutions have also been found in other areas such as aviation or industry. Existing applications that are already in use in the railway sector are also presented. All these methods and systems were evaluated with regard to the possible application for the environment of train drivers. In parallel, a survey was conducted among train drivers. The aim was to raise the expectations and requirements among the users and those directly affected by such a system. The paper will present the main results of the survey. Furthermore legal, organizational and technical requirements and possible barriers were analysed. Out of these factors - i) evaluation of existing technologies, ii) survey, iii) requirements analysis - suggestions for possible systems for monitoring and alerting train drivers were proposed and will be presented. For the workplace of the dispatcher, a prototype of a tool will be presented that was developed to monitor the attention of the dispatcher in a control room. The prototype on one hand is able to measure the actual level of concentration in few minutes and on the other hand delivers an individual recommendation with respect to attention enhancing measures to be taken. This individual recommendation will be provided, in accordance with the planned attention enhancing measures that consider the workload to be performed by a given person. The prototype was installed and tested in a real environment of a control room. The findings and experiences from these tests will be discussed. Furthermore, the advantages and disadvantages of this approach and the limitations that exists in these special work environments are highlighted. Deriving from this, recommendations for the further development and the use of such a system are made.