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Fatigue Risk Management – Cutting Edge (Or Is It?)


Fatigue Risk Management (FRM)

One of the best studies I have seen in quite some time on workplace Risk Management was a recently published analysis on Fatigue Risk Management (FRM) – see this article. It is from the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Sleeping Fatigue Risk Management doing a Homework
Wikimedia commons – Psy3330 W10

The subject is not cutting edge. Every Risk Manager knows that as fatigue rises, so does the accident rate.

The key points of the study are:

• Fatigue is related to the duration of sleep and timing (circadian rhythm) of sleep.
• Inadequate sleep is correlated with a variety of adverse medical outcomes.
• Various shift work schedules can affect both the duration and the timing of sleep.
• Inadequate duration of sleep is correlated with injury rate.

The study goes on to point out the differences between fatigue and sleepiness. When the term fatigue is used, many think of it as the same as sleepiness, but these are actually two different (although related) states. Sleepiness is the tendency to fall asleep; fatigue is the body’s response to sleep loss or to prolonged physical or mental exertion.

Fatigue may be reduced by sedentary activity or rest without sleeping, whereas subjective sleepiness and the propensity for sleep are often exacerbated by sedentary activity or rest.1 Sleep propensity can be accompanied by decreased alertness which then leads to decreased attention to detail, impaired judgment,
and slowed response time. This can affect productivity, safety, and overall health table 1 lists several factors that can lead to fatigue and increased sleep propensity and that affects the resultant degree of impairment. Fatigue and decreased alertness resulting from insufficient or poor quality sleep can have several safety-related consequences, including slowed reaction time, reduced vigilance, reduced decision-making ability, poor judgment, distraction during complex tasks, and loss of awareness in critical situations.

Businessman Doing Sleeping Fatigue Risk Management On The Table With Documents

Sleep deprivation has long been recognized as an unmet public health challenge. Many individuals believe they adapt to chronic sleep loss or that recovery requires only a single extended sleep episode, but studies have shown that this is not the case.  

Table 5 near the end of the study has a great checklist for fatigue.  I think we will all see fatigue become a very hot risk management and claims item over the next few years.

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James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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