ICAO defines Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS) as “a data-driven means of continuously monitoring and maintaining fatigue related safety risks, based upon scientific principles and knowledge as well as operational experience that aims to ensure relevant personnel are performing at adequate levels of alertness”.
Crew member fatigue is now acknowledged as a hazard that predictably degrades various types of human performance and can contribute to aviation accidents and incidents. Fatigue is inevitable in 24/7 operations because the human brain and body function optimally with unrestricted sleep at night. Therefore, as fatigue cannot be eliminated, it must be managed.
Fatigue management refers to the methods by which Operators and operational personnel address the safety implications of fatigue. In general, the ICAO Standards and recommended Practices (SARPs) support two distinct approaches for fatigue management: a prescriptive approach and a performance-based approach Prescriptive approach In the prescriptive fatigue management approach, operations must remain within prescribed limits established by the regulator for flight time, flight duty periods, duty periods and rest periods. In ddition, an operator should manage fatigue hazards using the SMS processes that are in place for managing other types of hazards.
Performance-based regulatory approach The operator develops and implements a Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS) that is approved by the regulator. An FRMS allows an operator to adapt policies, procedures and practices to the specific conditions that create
fatigue in a particular aviation setting. Operators may tailor their FRMS to unique operational demands and focus on fatigue mitigation strategies that are within their specific operational environment.
Based on research, scientific principles that help in understanding and managing fatigue are as follows
Periods of wake need to be limited. Getting enough sleep (both quantity and quality) on a regular basis is essential for restoring the brain and body.
Reducing the amount or the quality of sleep, even for a single night,
decreases the ability to function and increases sleepiness the next day.
The circadian body clock affects the timing and quality of sleep and
produces daily highs and lows in performance capacity on various tasks.
Workload can contribute to crew member fatigue. Low workload may
unmask physiological sleepiness while high workload may exceed the capacity of a fatigued individual..
Flight Safety & Quality
Assurance Division (OE)
Safety bulletin team:
Captain Mudid Al Otaibi
Captain Abdul Malek Al Hattab
Tel: (+965) 1802050 Ext.: 2550