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ShawTV: Fatigue Science on go! Vancouver with Johanna Ward

go! Vancouver‘s Johanna Ward met Fatigue Science CEO, Sean Kerklaan, last fall at the BCTIA’s ConnectFX here in Vancouver. She was so intrigued by how our technology could help both athletes optimize their game-time performance and workers operate more safely on the job, that we invited her back to Fatigue Science headquarters to learn more.

In the segment, Sean shows Johanna how Readiband technology works, how managing sleep can improve performance in the workplace, and shares a few tips for a good night’s sleep. Have a watch:

Sleep and athlete recovery

Sleep is important to athletes for a number of reasons, including overall performance and recovery. Think about all the star athletes, who reportedly sleep about 9, 10, or 11 hours a night!

We came across this short video with endurance sports coach, Sage Rountree, talking about the importance of sleep to recovery and performance for runners and multi-sport athletes. “Make good sleep a priority,” she says, “and you will be a better athlete.

Some key takeaways:

  • Sleep is critical to recovery
  • Sleep requirements are individual, but 8-9 hours per night is a ‘noble goal’
  • Poor sleep can be both an indicator of overtraining and a contributing factor to it

She also shares a few tips which  both athletes and workers might find useful in helping to wind down and prepare for a good night’s sleep.

Falling asleep at the wheel is easier than you think

Fatigued workers could be micro-sleeping, and causing major accidents.

Scientists have indicated that fatigued drivers are capable of falling asleep behind the wheel for seconds at a time without evening knowing it. A few seconds might not seem like a long time, but in a fast moving vehicle or dangerous piece of equipment, it’s enough for something serious to happen.

ABC news put this study to the test in a recent experiment under supervision of the Liberty Mutual Research Institute, where this phenomenon called ‘micro sleep’ is studied. Reporter, Ron Claiborne, deprived himself of sleep and then attempted to operate a vehicle. The results were both surprising and alarming – have a watch:

 

 

In the video, Ron admits to falling asleep ‘a couple of times’ and decides to end the experiment. Luckily for Ron, he was driving on a closed and supervised course because the experiment data actually showed that he had fallen asleep not twice, but twenty-two times. Workers in 24/7 operations aren’t usually supervised by a team of scientists while on the job, so what would falling asleep twenty-two times mean to someone operating heavy equipment or about to drive themselves home after finishing a long shift?

Westjet near accident: YVR fatigued air traffic controller

Fatigue Science was asked to analyze how Fatigue contributed to the Westjet incident at Vancouver’s YVR Airport on April 15th, 2011.

Fatigue related accidents and close calls are completely preventable. Employers can be proactive and have their work schedules examined by the Fatigue Avoidance Scheduling Tool (FAST). This will tell them whether their schedules are creating dangerous periods of time when workers would be at a high risk of making a mistake or having an accident. It allows them to manage the risk to prevent the accidents from happening.

FAST was developed by the US Army to prevent fatigue related accidents and has been independently validated by the US Department of Transportation. FAST is used by many industries globally and is recommended by the world’s largest re-insurance company MunichRe.

Pilots of USA Airforce One use FAST to review schedule rosters before flight and ensure fatigue is not a risk factor.

The Canadian government and many Canadian industries are just beginning to address this important issue. Some have tried in the past but with FAST and Readibands they are now able to upgrade their fatigue management programs to a modern, evidence based system.