Research Projects

Fatigue Management for Airport Ground Crews

Develop guidance for airports on the impacts, risks, and effective mitigation strategies for addressing cognitive fatigue in airport personnel. The research should explore the root causes of fatigue, how fatigue impacts human performance, and approaches to minimize the risks associated with employee fatigue.

Background (Describe the current situation or problem in the industry, and how your idea would address it.)

Fatigue and how it impacts of cognitive performance is a prime area of focus in aviation. Fatigue management is heavily emphasized for air crew but lacking for ground crews working at airports. Ground crews working for the airport and for the stakeholders supporting airport operations drive heavy machinery around very expensive aircraft, are often overworked, work long shifts at strange times, have other jobs or school, and are frequently mentally and physically exhausted by the demands of the jobs. Aircraft operators mandate rest requirements so that flight crews are availed the opportunity to sleep and recover prior to flights. It is the rare organization that manages the levels of fatigue for those that work on or around aircraft in the airport environment. Research is needed to explore how fatigue levels impact the performance of airport personnel to make sound decisions so the airport system works efficiently and safely.
This research would explore the demands on airport personnel, particularly in the airside environment, and determine the level to which fatigue leads to such undesired outcomes such as rule violations, movement area incursions, and accidents resulting in damage to airport property, damage to aircraft, or injuries to personnel. Mitigation strategies for managing fatigue risk that can be both implemented and monitored for airport personnel should be a focus of the research, as well as the authority or influence airports can exert on employees of airport stakeholders whose performance impacts the safety and effectiveness or the overall airport system.

Objective (What is the desired product or result that will help the airport industry?)

A report on the impacts, risks and mitigation strategies that idenfies root causes of fatigue, how fatigue impacts human performance, and approaches to minimize the risks associated with employee fatigue.

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Idea No. 345