Skip to content

Fatigue Management: It's for Everyone

Awake & Safe: Railroaders Talk (6:03)

Experienced locomotive engineers tell how they manage their work schedules, organize their sleep, and balance work and family life.

A cross-industry panel of railroad stakeholders agrees...

Fatigue management is a team effort, at work and at home. It requires both personal and organizational responsibility. In addition to your carrier’s obligations, taking the time to discuss your sleep needs with family and close friends will encourage a balanced approach to healthy sleep, and a healthy social and family life. Here’s an example of how everyone can be engaged:

Employees: Workers can manage only what is under their individual control. Due to the nature of on-call operations, most railroad employees experience fatigue, and sometimes have difficulty complying with operational requirements while balancing sleep needs. Understanding how to use sleep tactics, and when to put sleep first—even if it competes with personal priorities and specific carrier policies—is critical.

Carriers: Each carrier has policies that support fatigue management in different ways. Check with your railroad to find out about napping and leave policies if you have questions.

Unions: Working cooperatively with employees and carriers, labor unions facilitate and support the adoption of policies and practices that promote safe operations and best practices in fatigue management. 

Families and Friends: Communicating your need for sleep is essential. Establishing a support network is often more difficult for employees working unpredictable hours. Planning and attending events with friends and family often happens last-minute. Asking for support when you need it can be helpful.