Should transit workers have standards for hours of service and fatigue?

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Washington — Citing high-profile transit incidents in which worker fatigue played a role, the Federal Transit Administration is considering minimum standards for hours of service and fatigue risk management programs for the industry.

In an advance notice of proposed rulemaking published Oct. 30, FTA notes that public transit is the only mode of transportation without these measures.

The agency doesn’t offer specific proposals for HOS or fatigue risk management programs, but it asks for public input on each issue.

The notice details HOS and fatigue risk management program recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board and FTA’s Transit Advisory Committee for Safety. Additionally, it includes information on American Public Transportation Association consensus standards and other relevant federal regulations.

APTA’s consensus standard for train operator HOS is 12 hours, with a “maximum duty day” of 16 hours. It also includes a minimum off-duty time of 10 hours and a max of seven consecutive workdays.

The deadline to comment is Dec. 29.

McCraren Compliance offers a full range of safety and health training and consulting services. Plus we can help you incorporate well-being into your traditional systems in order to support the Total Worker Health of your workforce.

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Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Lack of oversight at issue in fatal crash

Original article published by National Transportation Safety Board
​At-rest position of the truck-tractor and Chevrolet. (Source: AZDPS with annotations by the NTSB.)

Crash highlights need for fatigue management and more action on collision avoidance and connected vehicle technologies

WASHINGTON (March 28, 2023) – A program to manage driver fatigue in agricultural transportation and collision avoidance technology would have prevented a fatal 2021 multivehicle collision in Phoenix where a tractor-trailer carrying milk crashed into stopped traffic, the NTSB said at its virtual public board meeting Tuesday.

“Generally, motor carriers must make a compelling safety case before regulators will grant them an exemption from safety rules. But, once Congress mandated and then expanded the agricultural hours-of-service exemption, the oversight of the carriers’ fatigue risk largely disappeared,” said NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy. “Drivers operating under an hours-of-service exemption are at a greater risk of fatigue: an unacceptable — and avoidable — danger to every road user.”

The board met to discuss the findings and recommendations of an investigation into the multivehicle crash on June 9, 2021 that killed four and injured 11.

Following the initial impact, the milk truck crossed the eastbound travel lanes, struck a concrete median barrier and separated. The truck cab and one passenger vehicle were consumed by fire. Video footage showed the truck driver was facing forward before the crash and did not slow down as he approached the line of cars. Investigators found the driver had less than a six-hour opportunity for sleep the day of the crash and regularly worked 70 – 80 hours per week.

The trucking company, Arizona Milk Transport, operated under an “hours-of-service exemption” that allows unlimited driving hours for certain agricultural commodities within a 150 air-mile radius. Investigators said the safety impact of the hours-of-service exemption is unknown, as is the prevalence of its use, and called for more data.

Although exempted from hours of service, Arizona Milk Transport did not have a program to manage driver fatigue. The investigation found the company had poor oversight over its drivers and did not enforce its own policies regarding the maximum hours employees could work.

The NTSB called for the U.S. Department of Transportation to study the prevalence of driver fatigue in companies operating under the exemption and require them to seek authority to implement a fatigue management program. The NTSB also recommended milk industry associations encourage their members to adopt a fatigue management program.

In addition, the NTSB reiterated multiple recommendations on collision avoidance technology that would have prevented this crash from occurring in the first place. This includes recommendations to NHTSA to develop standards for forward collision avoidance systems in commercial vehicles and mandate connected vehicle technology on all new vehicles.

Further, the NTSB voted to reclassify two recommendations to the U.S. DOT and the Federal Communications Commission related to connected vehicle or vehicle-to-everything implementation. The NTSB changed the recommendations’ status to “open, unacceptable response” due to the lack of progress. The responses had been classified “open, await response.”

Vehicle-to-everything, or V2X, technology allows vehicles and infrastructure to relay important safety information to other vehicles to avoid crashes. The NTSB currently has 14 open recommendations related to collision avoidance systems and V2X technologies​ and the issue is on its Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements.

The executive summary, probable cause, findings, and safety recommendations are in the report abstract available on the investigation web page. The final report will be published on the NTSB website in several weeks.

The public docket for the investigation includes more than 1,800 pages of factual information, including reports, interview transcripts, and other investigative materials.

McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, USDOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

Driver Fatigue on the Job

Original article published by NIOSH

No amount of desire to drive or stay awake/alert or experience can help workers to escape the effects of fatigue on their driving performance.

Fatigue is broadly described as “a feeling of weariness, tiredness or lack of energy.” Whatever the source – inadequate or poor-quality sleep, long hours of work or driving, physical exertion, shift work, stress, or sleep disorders such as sleep apnea – fatigue affects the ability to drive safely. Employers and workers share the responsibility for managing fatigue and preventing fatigue-related motor vehicle crashes.

NIOSH conducts research and makes recommendations to help employers and workers prevent motor vehicle crashes caused by fatigued driving. Longer daily commutes, nonstandard shift work, less sleep, and lack of employer driving safety policies were associated with one or more risky driving-related outcomes such as drowsy driving, falling asleep, or experience a near miss crash event while driving. Maintaining good sleep habits is important to your health and safety, on and off the job.


  • Being awake for many consecutive hours
  • Not getting enough sleep over multiple days
  • Time of day: Your body has a sleep/wake cycle that tells you when to be alert and when it’s time to sleep. The urge to sleep is the most intense in the early morning hours.
  • Monotonous tasks or long periods of inactivity
  • Health factors such as sleep disorders or medications that cause drowsiness


  • Nodding off
  • Reacting more slowly to changing road conditions, other drivers, or pedestrians
  • Making poor decisions
  • Drifting from your lane
  • Experiencing “tunnel vision” (when you lose sense of what’s going on in the periphery)
  • Experiencing “microsleeps” (brief sleep episodes lasting from a fraction of a second up to 30 seconds)
  • Forgetting the last few miles you drove

What Employers Can Do

  • Set policies for maximum numbers of overtime hours and consecutive shifts.
  • Monitor compliance with federal hours-of-service regulations for drivers covered by them.
  • Ensure sufficient staffing levels across operations, factoring in the inevitable absences that occur due to vacation days, sickness, turnover, etc.
  • Provide worker training on sleep health and fatigue management.
  • Where staffing and work tasks allow it, allow for rest breaks and napping during extended work shifts.
  • Give supervisors and workers fatigue-symptom checklists and encourage self-reporting.
  • Encourage workers to monitor fatigue symptoms among co-workers.
  • Consider choosing the “right” fatigue monitoring and detection technology to identify potential sources of fatigue that might help in mitigating fatigue risk while driving.
  • During incident investigations, collect data on sleep history of workers involved, hours worked leading up to the incident, time of day, hours of driving, etc.

What Workers Can Do:

  • Get enough sleep (7-9 hours each day). If fatigue continue to persist after adequate sleep, speak to a healthcare professional to get help identifying the cause of fatigue.
  • Follow company policies and any applicable regulations that set maximum work hours or driving hours.
  • Plan your off-duty activities to allow enough time for rest and recovery.
  • Create a sleeping environment that helps you sleep well (a dark, quiet, cool room with no electronics).
  • If you feel fatigued while driving: pull over where safe, drink a cup of coffee, and take a 15-30 minute nap before continuing.
  • Watch yourself and your peers for fatigue-related symptoms. If possible, postpone travel until you are well-rested and recovered. If you are driving with co-workers, take turns driving.
  • Tell your supervisor if you are too tired to drive. If a co-worker appears too tired to drive, take your concerns to a supervisor.

The bottom line:

No amount of experience, motivation, or professionalism can overcome your body’s biological need to sleep. Employers and workers can take steps to prevent the chain of events that could lead to a fatigue-related crash. Employers, learn more about starting a fatigue risk management system.

McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, USDOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

Not getting enough zzzs may up your risk of developing multiple chronic diseases

Original article published by Safety+Health

Is getting seven hours of sleep something you can only dream of? Results of a recent study suggest that falling two hours short of the recommended limit increases your risk of developing at least two chronic diseases.

Using data from nearly 8,000 British adults between 50 and 70 years old, researchers looked for links between sleep duration, mortality and whether participants had been diagnosed with chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer or diabetes over 25 years.

Compared with the participants who slept up to seven hours a night, those who slept five hours or less a night at age 50 were 40% more likely to be diagnosed with multiple chronic diseases. They also had a 25% increased risk of mortality over the 25-year follow-up period.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends working-age adults get seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Older adults should get seven to eight hours.

“To ensure a better night’s sleep, it is important to promote good sleep hygiene, such as making the bedroom quiet, dark and at a comfortable temperature, before sleeping,” said lead study author Severine Sabia, a researcher at the University College London. “It’s also advised to remove electronic devices and avoid large meals before bedtime. Physical activity and exposure to light during the day might also promote good sleep.”

The study was published online in the journal PLOS Medicine.

McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, DOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

Study explores top causes of driving-related deaths in oil and gas extraction industry

Original article published by Safety+Health

Washington — For oil and gas extraction workers, a combination of extended work hours, long commutes and insufficient sleep increases their odds of engaging in risky driving behaviors, according to a recent NIOSH study.

A previous study from the Centers for Disease Control in Prevention found that motor vehicle-related crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths in the industry. To explore the underlying causes, NIOSH researchers – from October 2017 to February 2019 – surveyed 500 oil and gas extraction workers in Colorado, North Dakota and Texas.

Almost two-thirds of the respondents reported working 12 or more hours a day, while nearly half slept less than seven hours a night. The average round-trip commute time was about two hours. About a quarter of the workers reported falling asleep while operating a work vehicle or feeling “extremely drowsy” while driving at work more than once a month. Additionally, 17% said they nearly had crashed while driving at work within the past week.

Findings also show that although a majority of the workers’ employers had established vehicle safety policies covering near-miss crash reporting, fewer than half of the respondents indicated their employers’ policies included journey management (47%), fatigue management (42%) and maximum work hours (39%).

“These results underscore the need for employer policies to prevent risky driving events among workers in oil and gas extraction,” NIOSH says, adding that those policies should include “programs to limit long work hours, reduce long daily commutes, promote sufficient sleep and reduce drowsy driving.”

The study was published online in the American Journal of Industrial Medicine.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Exhausted nation: Americans more tired than ever, survey finds

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

New York — Do you feel like you’re constantly running on fumes? If so, it’s not just you. Around 3 out of 5 U.S. adults say they feel more tired now than they’ve ever been and blame it on additional time spent at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, results of a recent survey show.

Researchers from marketing research company OnePoll surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults to learn about the impacts the pandemic is having on their energy levels, as well as any accompanying side effects. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they feel unfocused or disjointed, and that taking a brief nap isn’t a “viable solution.” More than half of the respondents (55%) said no amount of rest helps them feel focused, while slightly more (56%) believe poor sleep schedules have led to low energy levels.

Other findings:

  • 69% of the respondents said working from home has disrupted their sleep schedule.
  • Long work hours (53%), staying indoors during lockdowns (52%), too much screen time (46%) and lack of a regular routine (41%) were cited as the leading causes for prolonged feelings of exhaustion.
  • Among the participants working from home, 34% said many of the activities that typically boost their energy levels aren’t possible during the pandemic.
  • 3 out of 5 respondents said video conferences are more draining than in-person meetings.

The American Sleep Association offers tips for getting a better night’s sleep.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Caffeine may not be the cognitive kick-starter many people imagine: study

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Lansing, MI – If you rely on caffeine to provide a brain boost after a poor night of sleep, findings of a recent study from researchers at Michigan State University may give you a jolt.

Researchers from MSU’s Sleep and Learning Lab asked 276 people to complete separate tasks one evening. One task involved simply paying attention, while the other required completing steps in a specific order. Participants then were randomly assigned to either stay up all night at the sleep lab or return home to sleep.

The next morning, all of the participants reconvened at the sleep lab and were given either a 200-milligram caffeine capsule or a placebo. Each was asked to complete both tasks again.

Lead study author Kimberly Fenn, an associate professor of cognition and cognitive neuroscience at MSU, said in a press release that although caffeine assisted the participants with completing the attention-based task, “it had little effect on performance on the place keeping task for most participants.”

Fenn added that consuming caffeine after sleep deprivation “doesn’t do much to prevent the sort of procedural errors” that can trigger medical mistakes and vehicle crashes.

“Caffeine increases energy, reduces sleepiness and can even improve mood, but it absolutely does not replace a full night of sleep,” Fenn said. “Although people may feel as if they can combat sleep deprivation with caffeine, their performance on higher-level tasks will likely still be impaired. This is one of the reasons that sleep deprivation can be so dangerous.”

The study was published online May 20 in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Download the Fatigue at Work Employer Toolkit

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Fatigue is having an impact on your workforce and your bottom line. Research shows that nearly 13% of workplace injuries may be linked to fatigue, and more than 40% of U.S. workers are sleep deprived.

The Fatigue at Work Employer Toolkit from the National Safety Council aims to help employers address this safety risk in the workplace. The toolkit has materials for human resources personnel, supervisors and employees, including:

  • Posters and tip sheets
  • Digital presentations
  • 5-minute safety talks
  • White papers and reports
  • Sample policies to implement at your workplace

Download the toolkit today.

Waking up to the risks of workplace fatigue

More than 1 in 10 injuries on the job may be linked to insufficient sleep, experts say

Image: kali9/iStockphoto

For many people struggling to cope with the pressures of life in a 24/7, on-demand world, sleep gets relegated to the bottom of their to-do list. Sleep is sacrificed to squeeze in an extra hour of productivity, or because rest time is equated with wasted time.

“In America, we have a long-standing culture of thinking, ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead,’ or ‘Sleep is for lazy people,’ or ‘People who value rest are not as ambitious,’” said Emily Whitcomb, senior program manager, fatigue initiative, at the National Safety Council. “We have a history of incentivizing people who work long hours with extra pay, promotions and recognition.”    Read more»

Poor sleep patterns raise risks of metabolic disorders

Photo: Drazen Zigic/iStockphoto

Bethesda, MD — Irregular sleep patterns do more than just make you tired at work – they can have long-lasting adverse effects on your health.

According to a study conducted by researchers at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, for every hour of variability in your bedtime and time asleep, you could face up to a 27% higher risk of metabolic syndrome, which the National Institutes of Health defines as “a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke.”

Read more