Be Proactive with Your Fatigue Management Strategy

by | Oct 10, 2011

In the last issue of Axsium’s quarterly newsletter Axsium@Work, we wrote about the issue of fatigue in the workplace in the article titled “Are Your Employees Tired?” The managing of employee fatigue has been a hot topic in the manufacturing sector due to high-profile incidents such as the 2005 BP Texas City refinery explosion and the 2010 Deep Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.     

As I discuss the fatigue issues with our clients in the energy sector, it is clear there is both a sense of urgency and hesitation on how to effectively move forward with tracking employee rest time.    While they are very aware that Recommended Practice 755 from the American Petroleum Institute has been issued, it is still recommended and not required so there is no urgency to meet those recommendations.    It is commonly believed that if companies don’t voluntarily comply, those recommendations will turn into regulatory requirements leaving no option but to deal with fatigue management.    Therein lies the dilemma: invest now or wait until required to act? 

Interestingly, it’s not only are energy companies conflicted about next steps with fatigue management.  WFM software vendors are trying to determine the appetite for more robust scheduling options that will help in managing employee schedules and rest time.   In the article in our newsletter, we talked about Circadian,  a leader in the fatigue space, partnering with Kronos a leader in the workforce management world.   Their partnership is bringing a new level of awareness of fatigue to the workforce management thought process.

 In addition to Kronos/Circadian, another one of Axsium’s partners WorkForce Software, has been working with the fatigue issue for several years.   Originally requested by a client in the nuclear industry, WorkForce Software took the initiative to a new level by engaging representatives from different nuclear companies to assist in the development and design of their fatigue management product.    The result is a functionally robust application that can be used with any workforce management system and in any industry. 

With the attention that both Kronos and WorkForce Software are giving to the fatigue issue, other workforce software vendors are starting to take notice and keep a watchful eye on the potential demand.  However, if they wait until the recommendations become requirements, they may be missing the window of opportunity to shape the future of fatigue in the workforce management world.

What does this mean for those companies – both energy companies and WFM software vendors alike – deciding on how to deal with this issue?  My recommendation is to develop a fatigue management strategy now.  While there may be some investment in enhancing your current workforce management system or even implementing a new solution, the benefits of such a strategy can be significant.  Those benefits can include improved productivity due to better alertness and improved employee satisfaction and retention.  Most importantly it reflects an organizations focus on safety, the most critical component of any company’s strategic goals. 

For more information about this topic, please don’t hesitate to contact me at

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