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Introducing ReadiAnalytics: real-time objective visibility into workforce fatigue

Fatigue Science, a global leader in providing predictive analytics on human performance to industrial firms, elite sport teams, and the military, is pleased to announce the launch of ReadiAnalytics™, a first-of-its-kind analytics and Fatigue Management Information System, as part of its software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform. ReadiAnalytics delivers real-time, scientifically validated, and objective visibility into workforce fatigue levels and its underlying causes.

Fatigue management has recently emerged as a C-Suite priority for heavy industry firms, as executives in mining, oil & gas, construction, and a number of other vertical industries with complex operations are now recognizing the proven correlation between workforce fatigue and operational productivity. New data reveals that less fatigued workforces are measurably more productive and that data confirms the well-established benefits for employee health, safety, and retention. Military command and elite sports leadership are likewise focused on performance optimization and fatigue risk management.

 

As the incremental productivity benefits and associated return on investment (ROI) are now clear, leadership teams are seeking objective, timely and quantified measures of on duty fatigue levels for each crew or team and site in their operation. ReadiAnalytics was designed in consultation with these customers specifically to meet this need and to help them achieve measurable fatigue reduction goals. The analytics suite delivers actionable fatigue and performance insights tailored to the needs of executives, military command, operations leadership, coaches, supervisors, and teams as well as health and safety professionals. 

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Data-Driven Decision-Making

Industrial firms, the military, and elite sports pursuit of objective data to support performance optimization coincides with a larger trend: the shift toward data-driven decision-making enabled by the IloT. While data on machine performance has grown exponentially in recent years, data on workforce performance and fatigue have long been viewed as a blind spot for otherwise data-rich organizations. 

“Our customers today have operational data flowing from nearly every asset in their operation: trucks, pipes, shovels, and pumps all generate millions of data points each day. And yet, most industrial firms lack objective measures on the performance of their most valuable asset: their workforce,” says Andrew Morden, President and CEO of Fatigue Science. “When it comes to the causes and extent of worker fatigue, most management teams are essentially ‘flying blind’. Now with ReadiAnalytics™, firms no longer need to guess when and where fatigue is present, or how significant it is. The validated data is right there in the dashboard, on-demand and in real-time.”

 

Unlike subjective methods for estimating crew fatigue, ReadiAnalytics captures anonymous sleep data from a sample of crew workers and then processes it alongside a variety of circadian factors with a scientifically-validated biomathematical model. The model then quantifies which on duty crews will be the most and least fatigued, and how that fatigue will trend over time as their shift pattern progresses. Crucially, worker privacy is preserved, as insights are anonymized and aggregated for each crew, site, and the company. 

Beyond providing fatigue data, ReadiAnalytics also reveals the underlying causes of this fatigue. It segments the portion that is attributable to structural factors, like schedules, versus human factors, such as sleep health and habits. These insights are instrumental in informing specific strategies to reduce fatigue levels, and ultimately, drive concrete improvements to productivity, safety, and cost. 

“When we spoke to customers, a recurring theme emerged: ‘We recognize fatigue is important, but if we really want to invest in fixing the root causes, we need to be able to objectively measure our baseline fatigue level, and then track our progress toward reducing it over time.’ As the saying goes, ‘You can’t manage what you can’t measure,’” says Robert Higdon, Vice President of Product and Corporate Development. 

As employers implement specific efforts to reduce workforce fatigue, they need ongoing measures of their effectiveness, and the opportunity to adjust course. “Our customers are  accustomed to data-driven decision-making when optimizing their machinery. We’re proud to now enable organizations in taking a similar approach to their workforce decision processes—particularly because workers’ well-being, safety, and productivity actually move in tandem,” says David Trotter, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. 

ReadiAnalytics also empowers our military and elite sports clients who are consistently focused on fatigue and its associated impact on human performance.

Fatigue Management, a Win-Win in Today’s Challenging Time

The intersection of productivity and health and safety represents a particularly compelling win-win for all types of organizations in this challenging and unprecedented time. As humanity collectively continues to work through the COVID-19 pandemic, employers are recognizing their role and responsibility for providing employees with working conditions that are conducive to their health and safety. 

This focus on employee well-being is particularly relevant in heavy industry, where workers routinely perform dangerous or complex tasks in high-risk environments, all while working extended shifts, often at night and in remote environments. 

“So often, and particularly at this moment in history, employers are being forced to choose between their bottom line and the health and safety of their workers. Reducing fatigue, fortunately, is one of those rare opportunities where safeguarding workers’ health also maximizes productivity,” says Morden. 

“With ReadiAnalytics, we’ve shown customers a direct correlation between workers’ fatigue levels and their hourly output. For example, we paired our proprietary fatigue data with telematics data from haul trucks and mine shovels,” added Morden. “At the same time, sleep is fundamentally important for a healthy immune system, with documented benefits for both reducing short-term absenteeism and increasing long-term employee retention. Reducing the hard costs from accidents, incidents, and equipment damage attributable to fatigue is also a key motivator for employers looking to use our predictive analytics to achieve a measurable reduction in fatigue.”

Nearly 65% of industrial accidents in surface mining alone are related to fatigue.

Decades of Scientific Validation, Paired with Cutting-Edge Technology

ReadiAnalytics is the newest flagship offering in Fatigue Science’s renowned fatigue risk management software suite, Readi Enterprise Suite™

At the core of Readi Enterprise Suite is the SAFTE™ Biomathematical Fatigue Model, a proprietary algorithm developed by the U.S. Army Research Lab and available exclusively from Fatigue Science. SAFTE accepts workers’ cumulative sleep data and circadian factors as an input and then translates those data into three objective and quantifiable measures of performance: cognitive effectiveness, reaction time, and likelihood to lapse (which is related to a tendency for micro-sleeps). Collectively, these factors comprise what is meant by fatigue in a human performance context. 

SAFTE has been validated extensively by leading institutions such as the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration, and its measurements have shown a direct correlation to real-world productivity and safety outcomes, as measured by telematics and video-verified incident data.

For years, Readi Enterprise Suite has served a dual purpose for its customers: provide individuals with daily insight into their fatigue levels via our smartphone app called Readi, and provide leadership with aggregated insights into organizational fatigue. Up until now, the insights for leadership were only available via manual analysis that often brought weeks or months of delays between when the data was captured and when it was delivered.

“We discovered the data is tangibly more actionable when it is on-demand, as our clients can then measure progress continuously, in any segment of their workforce or team,” says Morden. “ReadiAnalytics automates the entire analysis and delivery process in a real-time solution that effortlessly scales to the largest industrial workforces or military divisions.” 

“Through our testing, we’ve found that leadership teams are far more likely to implement fatigue reduction initiatives if they can see the results in real-time, and adjust course before the effort is wasted,” says Higdon. “Crew supervisors benefit as well, as crew level data enables effective task planning and their ability to reinforce the importance of sleep to their workers. They often cite a friendly ‘competition’ in the participating crews, where each supervisor can encourage their own crew to focus on their sleep, comparing its fatigue levels to other crews.”

“We see ReadiAnalytics really unlocking organizations’ use of our fatigue metrics not just once a quarter or twice a year, but on a daily basis to drive results within day-to-day operations,” concludes Morden.

A Benefit for Workforce Participants

Like all tools in Readi Enterprise Suite, ReadiAnalytics is a hardware agnostic platform, compatible with a growing range of validated sleep tracking devices, such as the ReadiBand from Fatigue Science, as well as select validated devices from Fitbit and Garmin. This flexibility makes it easy to recruit volunteers from a workforce. “The pitch to workers is simple: Volunteer to share your anonymized sleep data with the Readi program, and in exchange, you’ll get a Fitbit, Garmin, or ReadiBand. You’ll also help leadership provide better, less fatiguing working conditions,” says Trotter. Consequently, early pilot customers of ReadiAnalytics regularly see more participants than initially planned. 

Return on Investment (ROI)

For progressive industrial firms, adopting new technology offers the prospect of a win-win where trade-offs previously existed. “With ReadiAnalytics, customers are able to see a payback on their investment within weeks to months,” says Trotter. “And that’s just the ROI from productivity. Our customers also find a significant reduction in costs and an improvement in safety outcomes when they achieve a measurable reduction in fatigue. In these challenging times, we’re excited to play a part in helping organizations improve the health, safety, and performance of workers, soldiers, and athletes through new technology.”

ReadiAnalytics is launching today with deployments at several major global mining firms, with many more slated to deploy in the coming weeks. All existing Fatigue Science customers have immediate access to ReadiAnlaytics at no cost for a period of 90 days.

The sleepy surgeon: a look at surgeon fatigue

It doesn’t matter what uniform you put on or what education you have, we are all human beings subject to the laws of nature.

In modern medical research there is less and less criticism of the methodology of published research and more and more criticism of the interpretation of the results.  What does the research really mean outside the context of the immediate research subjects?  Case in point, a January 2015 publication in the American Journal of Surgery entitled: “The Sleepy surgeon: does night-time surgery for trauma affect mortality outcomes?

The research has been characterized as saying that trauma surgery is not any riskier at night than during the day, “The studies here add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that surgeons, particularly experienced surgeons, can devise techniques to compensate for sleep deprivation” (Dr Carlos Pellegrini, University of Washington).

Really? What are these magical techniques? The fact is they don’t exist. This is a classic case of overreach and over interpretation of a narrow study. The research itself appears robust, the conclusions: not so much.

They looked at 2007-2010 data from the National Trauma Bank on 16,096 exploratory laparotomies started between midnight and 6 am and 15,109 between 7 am and 5 pm.  They concluded that there was no statistical difference with respect to patient deaths between night time and day time surgeries.  That sounds interesting.  Except, as Dr Pellegrini points out, “The exploratory laparotomy in general is a relatively straightforward procedure for which mortality and morbidity are very low.”

So, surgeons don’t make more mistakes, leading to patient deaths, following a simple procedure at night.  That’s about it.  Surgeons often perform many more complex surgeries. What about those?

It turns out that surgeons are diurnal human beings like the rest of us. In 2012 the FAA’s Civil Aerospace Medical Institute published a study on fatigue and concluded:

In terms of vulnerability to fatigue, we believe it is reasonable to assume that the professional cabin crew population is not inherently different at the genetic/ biological level than any other sub-group within the aviation community. Similarly, it is reasonable to assume that the commercial aviation population is not inherently different than any other group of generally healthy adults exposed to round-the-clock work schedules.

It doesn’t matter what uniform you put on or what education you have, we are all human beings subject to the laws of nature.  In 2012 Harvard medical school teamed up with Massachusetts General Hospital to study the fatigue of Orthopaedic residents. They measured their actual sleep using FDA cleared Readiband technology and their actual fatigue levels using the highly validated SAFTE bio-mathematical model and concluded:

“Residents were fatigued during 48% and impaired during 27% of their time awake. Among all residents, the mean amount of daily sleep was 5.3 hours. Overall, residents’ fatigue levels were predicted to increase the risk of medical error by 22% compared with well-rested historical control subjects.  Night-float residents were more impaired (P=.02), with an increased risk of medical error (P=.045).”

Residents were fatigued during 48% and impaired during 27% of their time awake.

In 2014 the American College of Surgeons published the following findings:

  • Fatigue has significant detrimental effects, including prolonged reaction time, decreased vigilance, impaired decision making, and delayed recognition of critical situations.*
  • Individuals vary in their response to fatigue; an individual’s response may also differ in relation to pre-existing conditions, accompanying stressors, workload, cumulative sleep loss, and the nature of a specific situation.
  • In objective testing, individuals often inaccurately assess their own level of sleepiness.
  • Data concerning surgeons and fatigue are limited and primarily describe physicians in training.
  • Restricted work hours for residents have not been linked to demonstrable improvements in patient safety and better outcomes or improved education of trainees.

…the overwhelming evidence is that human beings, regardless of occupation, simply cannot perform the same at night as they do during the day.

The same American Journal of Surgery published research in 2008 that concluded:

“Fatigue and sleep deprivation cause a significant deterioration in the surgical residents’ cognitive skills as measured by virtual reality simulation. Psychomotor skills are also negatively impacted during tasks that require a combination of psychomotor and cognitive skills.”

There is a dynamic in the medical community much like other communities that have  ”carved in stone” processes and schedules and want to avoid change.  That is understandable. However, the overwhelming evidence is that human beings, regardless of occupation, simply cannot perform the same at night as they do during the day. Over interpreting narrow research does not change that fact.

How fatigued employees affect your business

The long-term impact of sleep deprivation on employees is real and tangible. It is estimated that 30% of employees sleep fewer than six hours a night. This accumulation of sleep debt can lead to less energy, poorer cognitive function, less productivity, and a decreased ability to cope with stress in the workplace.

This infographic from the Pulse Institute demonstrates the challenges to workplace productivity that exist when employees are not sufficiently rested, including:

  • 23% reduced concentration
  • 18% reduced memory function
  • 9% increased difficulty in performing work or volunteer tasks

Fatigued workers contribute to on the job errors – the cost of which affects an organization’s performance, safety and bottom line. What are you doing to address fatigue in your workforce?

AsleepOnTheJob

It’s 3 am, do you know how fatigued your workers are?

When the news of the Chicago train derailment came across our desks last week, we immediately took notice of the time of day the incident occurred. We know from experience and science, that 3 AM is not an optimal time for us to be up and about, performing safety sensitive tasks.

In our 24-hour society, however, the world doesn’t shut down at night so that everyone can go to sleep. Police officers need to respond to emergencies, nurses need to tend to patients, machinery operators need to make sure facilities keep running, and transportation workers need to make sure travellers are delivered safely to their destinations – at all hours of the day.

The responsibility to ensure these, and other shift-related jobs, are performed effectively and without risk to human safety must be shared by both the employer and the worker. There are number of variables which can contribute to someone’s level of fatigue on the job – Are the work shifts inconsistent? Does their work schedule give them enough time off to sleep? Does the worker have a sleep disorder? Does the worker have children at home who are keeping them up? Does the sleeping environment of the worker allow for restful sleep? Does the worker make an effort to obtain 7-9 hours of sleep per day? … this list could go on.

The fact is, all of these specific variables (and more) can be addressed if an employer asks two questions:

  • Does the work schedule provide the worker with the opportunity to maintain regular, sufficient sleep?
  • Is the worker taking advantage of the sleep opportunity being provided to them?

Obtaining objective answers to these questions is actually easier than one might think. The technology and tools to analyze work schedules and measure worker’s sleep is commercially available. (Full disclosure here, we are talking about Fatigue Science technology.) These tools can help employers identify the possibility of worker’s accumulating sleep debt based on their schedules, in a scientifically-validated and meaningful way. They can also help organizations identify if their workers are indeed accumulating risk-inducing levels of sleep debt due to insufficient sleep, whether related to schedule, lifestyle, health or a combination of these factors. By identifying the causes of fatigue in the workplace, organizations and employees can start to manage these variables.

In the case of the O’Hare Airport train crash, the operator has admitted to falling asleep while driving. Additionally, it was noted that she had previously fallen asleep on the job only last month. While it is extremely fortunate there have been no fatalities in either incidents, the risk to human life and the growing financial costs associated with last Monday’s event should serve as a wake up to organizations in any industry. It is not enough to just investigate whether or not fatigue is a factor in a workplace accident, employers and authorities need to take the next steps to address it and reduce the risk of it happening again. Whether a roster of train operators, police officers, or heavy machinery operators, Fatigue can be both measured and managed – before someone makes a mistake that puts themselves, and other human life at risk.

Readiband technology to be included in WSU presentation at White House Safety Datapalooza

Researchers at Washington State University (WSU) have been looking at ways of leveraging data from wearable or mobile technology to help keep police officers safe and effective on the job. Enter their ‘BeSharp’ app which utilizes Fatigue Science’s Readiband technology and our SAFTE algorithm.

Readiband models performance based on sleep activity, provides real-time effectiveness scores, and determines when fatigue levels will reach a point where safety and performance are at risk. WSU researchers have created a mobile app, that will take Readiband’s real-time feedback and proactively alert officers via text message when it is time to take a break to recharge their mental effectiveness and reaction time.

 

graphic_white_house_datapalooza

 

The test version of this app, along with the Readiband, will be presented at this week’s White House Safety Datapalooza Conference by WSU Spokane professor of criminal justice, Bryan Vila. The project will contribute to the White House’s open data initiative, and help “enhance understanding of how fatigue affects safety on the road and in the community” and “enable evaluation of the impact of fatigue management efforts on officer safety.”

Fatigue Science CEO, Sean Kerklaan, has been part of the project team, which includes Jo Strang (American Short Line & Regional Railroad Association) and Gregory Godbout (White House-OSTP Presidential Fellow) and WSU Professor, Bryan Vila.
“We are pleased to have been included in this project and have our technology presented as part of ‘BeSharp’ at the White House Safety Datapalooza Conference.” Sean says, “While this app is still in a test version, it’s been great to work with the BeSharp team and see our technology incorporated into a new platform, which only increases the reach of this powerful data, and could contribute to police officer on-the-job safety and effectiveness.”

3 good reasons to manage your sleep this holiday season

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This time of year, festivities are plenty and most are likely to find themselves participating in numerous social engagements, last minute shopping trips, and family dinners.

There are many good reasons to get quality sleep year round, but during the holidays making the effort to properly manage your sleep will mean better enjoyment of your time and a safe and productive return to work. Here are three reasons why:

1. What holiday stress? – Studies show that well rested people have better stress management – Getting good sleep means handling that dinner with the meddling family member or sibling rivalry with much more grace and much less stress.

2. Consume less calories – Well rested people are known to consume less calories and make better dietary judgements. Studies show that you are more likely to eat fat and calorie laden food when you are tired. Of course you want to enjoy those cookies, festive cheese platters, and Dad’s famous gravy, but getting sleep might be a good way to make sure you aren’t so inclined to overdo it.

3. Safe and happy travels – An abundance of holiday gatherings can mean a lot of miles on the road. Keeping up with your sleep means you will have better reaction time and make smarter decisions while driving.

If you are fortunate enough to enjoy some extra time off during the holidays, take advantage of the opportunity to bank sleep or make up for your previous sleep debt so you can return to work safe and productive in the new year. If your schedule requires that you keep working alongside all the seasonal festivities, be sure to take advantage of any opportunity you have to maintain sleep and have friends or family support your need to be productive at work throughout the holidays by providing a quiet environment to sleep or nap when you need it.

While 7-9 hours of nightly sleep is ideal to maintain good mental effectiveness and safety, there may be a few whose holiday social and work demands interfere with getting sufficient sleep. If you are balancing a number of demands and aren’t able to get all the sleep you need, take extra caution with or postpone safety sensitive tasks as the holidays wind up and plan to make sleep your #1 priority in the new year.

From the team at Fatigue Science, have a safe and restful holiday season!