Man Balancing atop 20-Story Building

How alert are you, right now?




Sleep, Performance, and Public Safety

The Institute of Medicine estimates … that drowsy driving is responsible for fully 20 percent of all motor vehicle crashes. That would mean that drowsy driving causes approximately 1 million crashes, 500,000 injuries, and 8,000 deaths each year in the U.S.

Concentration, working memory, mathematical capacity, and logical reasoning are all aspects of cognitive function compromised by sleep deprivation.


How Awake Are You?

This interactive is an online adaptation of performance tests commonly used in research labs to examine the effects of sleep deprivation.


Sleep and Mood

University of Pennsylvania researchers found that subjects who were limited to only 4.5 hours of sleep a night for one week reported feeling more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted.

In one major study of 10,000 adults, people with insomnia were five times more likely to develop depression.4 Lack of sleep can be an even greater risk factor for anxiety. In the same study, people with insomnia were 20 times more likely to develop panic disorder (a type of anxiety disorder).5 Another study showed that insomnia is a reliable predictor of depression and many other psychiatric disorders, including all types of anxiety disorders.6


Preventing Worker Fatigue Among Ebola Healthcare Workers and Responders

Research indicates that working 12 hours per day is associated with a 37% increased risk of injury2. Accident and injury rates3 are 18% greater during evening shifts and 30% greater during night shifts when compared with day shifts.



Fatigue results in working memory and cognitive processing impairments.  …  Impaired working memory can also result in difficulty maintaining a complete mental image of complex situations such as aircraft departures, approaches, flight paths and separation distances. These impairments are consistent with the events observed in this occurrence. (p.7)

Judgment and Safety

Scientists have found that a small nightly decrease in sleep has serious cumulative effects; for instance, a week and a half spent sleeping just six hours per night, rather than seven to nine, can result in the same level of impairment on the tenth day as being awake for the previous 24 hours straight.6

Studies have shown that staying awake for just 17 to 19 hours straight impacts performance more than a blood-alcohol level of .05 percent (the level considered legally drunk in most western European countries). This level of impairment slows an individual’s reaction time by about 50 percent compared to someone who is well rested. Twenty-four hours of continuous wakefulness induces impairments in performance equivalent to those induced by a blood-alcohol level of 0.10 percent, beyond the legal limit for alcohol intoxication in the United States.7


Perhaps even more profound is the effect of poor sleep on judgment. The prefrontal cortex, an area near the front of the brain responsible for logical reasoning and complex thought, seems particularly vulnerable to sleep deprivation. Experts think this may explain why people typically have such a hard time recognizing their own fatigue and level of impairment.



 AAD Fatigue Management Policy, Guidelines and Procedure

  • By definition if you have had less than 5 hours of good quality sleep in the last 24 hours and less than 12 hours good quality sleep in the last 48 hours, you are not fit for duty and you are obliged to inform your supervisor that risk control measures are needed.

Accident and Operational Safety Analysis (U.S. DOE)


Alertness Management in Flight Operations (NASA, 2001)

An assessment of studies of human fatigue in land and sea transport (Phillips, 2014)

Application of fatigue management systems:  small mines… (Eiter, Steiner, & Kelhart.  c.2013)

Applying Neuroscience to Enhance Tactical Leader Cognitive Performance in Combat (Steadman, 2011)

Aviation Investigation Report A10O0089 (Transport Canada, 2010)

Combat and Operational Stress Control (USMC, 2010)

Crew Endurance Management (Edmond, 2010)

Detachment and recovery after work (Gervais, 2013)

Driver Recovery and Napping (FMCSA, 2015) 

Error Precursors Analysis Worksheets

Ethos of Error: Analyzing Investigations of Industrial Events (Sweeney, 2004)


Fatigue (Skybrary, 2014)

Fatigue Management (NSW Rural Fire Services, 2013)

Fatigue Management Evaluation Manual (NSW Mining & Extractives, 2013)

Fatigue Management Guide for Use by the Carrier Transportation Industry (Quebec, 2011)

Fatigue Management Plan (NSW Mine Safety, 2009)

Fatigue Management Procedure (NSW Transport, 2012)

Fatigue Risk Management Chart (NSW Mine Safety, c.2009)

Fatigue, Sleepiness, and Medical Errors

Fatigue Risk Management System for the Canadian Aviation Industry (2013)  

Human error (Salminen, c.2012)

  • …the best reduction of human errors was achieved, when accident information was provided in such a way (for example Rasmussen´s [2] SRK model) that it corresponded employees’ way of thinking[35].

Impact of High Involvement Work Systems on Employee Well-Being (Oppenauer, 2014)

Influence of Vibrations on Vehicle Occupant Fatigue (Amzar & Fard, 2014) 

Lighting (Kruger & Gorner, c.2013)

Marilyn Sue Bogner and the Institute for the Study of Human Error

Measuring Fatigue (Michelle Miller, ICAO, 2012)

Organisational measures of accident prevention (Mieldazys, c.2011)

Redesigning Work Design Theories (Grant & Parker, 2009)

Review of human reliability assessment methods (Bell & Holroyd, 2009)

Risk of Performance Errors Due to Fatigue Resulting from Sleep Loss, Circadian Desynchronization, Extended Wakefulness, and Work Overload

Root Cause Analysis Following an Event at a Nuclear Installation (IAEA, 2015)

Shifts, Extended Work Hours, and Fatigue (Violanti, 2012)

To Err is Human:  Error Prevention in Process Isolations (Lardner & Maitland, 2009)