Extract from IMO Assembly Resolution A.772(18)
FATIGUE FACTORS IN MANNING AND SAFETY
1.1 The purpose of this document is to provide a general description of fatigue, to identify the factors of ship operations which may contribute to fatigue, and to classify those factors under broad categories to indicate the extent to which the factors may be related.
1.2 The objective is to increase awareness of the complexity of fatigue and to encourage all parties involved in ship operations to take these factors into account when making operational decisions.
2 GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF FATIGUE
2.1 Fatigue results in the degradation of human performance, the slowing down of physical and mental reflexes and/or the impairment of the ability to make rational judgments.
2.2 Fatigue may be induced by factors such as prolonged periods of mental or physical activity, inadequate rest, adverse environmental factors, physiological factors and/or stress or other psychological factors.
3 CLASSIFICATION OF FATIGUE FACTORS IN RELATED GROUPS
3.1 In the case of seafarers, among the most commonly recognized and documented causes of fatigue are poor quality of rest, excessive workload, noise and interpersonal relationships. The contributory factors that lead to the above are many and varied. The significance of these factors as contributory causes of fatigue will vary depending on operational circumstances. Some factors will be more manageable than others. Such factors can be grouped as follows:
3.1.1 Management ashore and aboard ship, and responsibilities of Administrations:
- scheduling of work and rest periods;
- manning levels;
- assignment of duties;
- shore-ship-shore support and communication;
- standardization of work procedures;
- voyage planning;
- watchkeeping practices;
- management policy;
- import operations;
- recreational facilities;
- administrative duties.
3.1.2 Ship-specific factors:
- level of automation;
- reliability of equipment;
- motion characteristics;
- vibration, heat and noise levels;
- quality of working and living environment;
- cargo characteristics/requirements;
- ship design.
3.1.3 Crew-specific factors:
- thoroughness of training;
- crew composition
- crew competency and quality.
3.1.4 External environmental factors:
- port conditions;
- ice conditions;
- density of vessel traffic.
4 GENERAL DISCUSSION
4.1 Management ashore, aboard ship, and also the responsibilities of Administrations
4.1.1 The prevention of fatigue in the areas of scheduling of shipboard work and rest periods, manning levels, watchkeeping practices and assignment of duties could largely be accomplished by sensible shorebased management and on-board management techniques. It is also recognized that Administrations have an equally important role to play with respect to legislation leading to acceptance, implementation and enforcement in those areas covered by international conventions. Guidelines and provisions should take into account the relationships between work and rest periods to ensure adequate rest. These considerations should include a review of the voyage length, length of port stay, length of service of individual crew members, periods of responsibility and watchkeeping practices.
4.1.2 It is essential that management should provide clear, concise written policy guidance to ensure that ships' crews are familiar with ships' operational procedures, cargo characteristics, voyage length, destination, internal and external communication practices and ship familiarization procedures.
4.1.3 Management should recognize that crews joining a ship need to be adequately rested before assuming on-board duties.
4.2 Ship-specific factors
4.2.1 In designing or modifying ships, existing requirements, recommendations, standards and publications pertaining to the listed factors should be taken into account. Additionally, allowance should be made in designing ships for the adoption of ergonomic practices to prevent fatigue from these factors.
4.3 Crew-specific factors
4.3.1 Thoroughness of training is considered to be important in the prevention of fatigue. Fitness for duty, including medical fitness, proper working experience and the qualifications and quality of crew members are also considered important in this context.
4.3.2 It is important that management recognizes the potential problems stemming from the employment of multinational crews on the same vessel, a practice that might result in language barriers and in social, cultural and religious isolation, all of which may lead to safety problems.
4.3.3 Special emphasis should be placed by management on issues of interpersonal relationships, loneliness, social deprivation and increased workloads which may occur as a result of small crew complements.
4.3.4 Boredom can contribute to fatigue, and it is therefore necessary to provide seafarers with appropriate stimulation.
4.4 External environmental factors
4.4.1 In respect of the listed external environmental factors, it should also be recognized that they could contribute to fatigue.