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Risk Factors for Fatigue in Shipping, the Consequences for Seafarers’ Health and Options for Preventive Intervention

Abstract

The consequences of fatigue for the health and safety of seafarers have caused concern in the industry and among academics, and indicates the importance of further research into risk factors and preventive interventions at sea. This chapter gives an overview of the key issues relating to seafarer fatigue. A literature study was conducted aimed at collecting publications that address risk factors for fatigue, short-term and long-term consequences for health and safety, and options for fatigue mitigation at sea. Due to the limited number of publications that deal with seafarers, experiences from other populations sharing the same exposures (e.g. shift work) were also included when appropriate. Work at sea involves multiple risk factors for fatigue, which in addition to acute effects (e.g. impaired cognition, accidents) contributes through autonomic, immunologic and metabolic pathways to the development of chronic diseases that are particularly prevalent in seafarers. Taking into account the frequency of seafarer fatigue and the severity of its consequences, the efficacy of the current legislative framework and the industry’s compliance, the manning of the international merchant fleet, and optimized working, living and sleeping conditions at sea all need serious reconsideration. Given the circumstances at sea which cannot be altered, e.g. working in shifts and crossing time zones, further assessment of the potentials of preventive interventions including fatigue prediction tools and individual Fatigue Risk Management Systems (FRMS) is recommended.

Keywords

  • Fatigue
  • Seafarers
  • Risk factors
  • Acute effects
  • Chronic effects
  • Prevention

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Jepsen, J.R., Zhao, Z., Pekcan, C., Barnett, M., van Leeuwen, W.M.A. (2017). Risk Factors for Fatigue in Shipping, the Consequences for Seafarers’ Health and Options for Preventive Intervention. In: MacLachlan, M. (eds) Maritime Psychology. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-45430-6_6

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