The following transportation safety issue was previously on the NTSB’s Most Wanted List. As a result of the actions taken to implement the necessary life-saving safety recommendations…We are Safer.
For more than 3 decades, the NTSB has expressed concerns about human fatigue and its effects on transportation safety. Following several accident investigations in the 1980s, in 1989, the NTSB asked the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to address needed research, education, and revisions to hours-of-service regulations. Ten years later, DOT had yet to take action on hours of service, prompting the NTSB to issue safety recommendations to individual modal administrations.
In December 2009, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) became the first modal administration to make substantial improvements to its fatigue regulations. Through its final rule, Pipeline Safety: Control Room Management/Human Factors, PHMSA required that pipeline operators (1) establish shift lengths and schedule rotations that provide controllers off-duty time sufficient to achieve 8 hours of continuous sleep, (2) educate controllers and supervisors in fatigue mitigation strategies and how off-duty activities contribute to fatigue, (3) train controllers and supervisors to recognize the effects of fatigue, and (4) establish a maximum limit on controllers hours-of-service. This final rule represented a significant step forward for an industry that did not previously have any rules governing hours of service.