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Fatigue

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Submitted By kwanheon31
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Human Factors has been a crucial part of the aviation industry for some time now. The reputations of Airlines are depended on the safety that they provide in order for the passengers to feel secure during the flight without any problems. But the modern world still experiences the hard ship of dealing with human factors that affect the pilot in control hindering decision making as well as the ability to act quicker resulting in accidents occurring. It is known that 70% of fatal accidents are related to human factors, of which 20% is fatigue. It is evident that fatigue is a major implement in accidents occurring with the loss of passengers and money in airlines, which is why they are a concern in the aviation industry. The question that most pilots have to face when they have been involved in an accident is whether the accident was caused by a human error or a mechanical failure, most being human errors and this essay will be based on the concept of fatigue as well the risks and management that can be supported to improve this human factor.
There are two types of fatigue if it was to be categorised: Physical fatigue and mental fatigue. Physical fatigue is when the individual experiences lack of strength within himself, such as lifting objects where the muscles are fatigued. On the other hand, mental fatigue is to do with the mind not physically such as the level of consciousness decreases as time goes resulting in decrease in attention. This can be dangerous when a task that needs focus is required; pilots are the main victims to this. One of the causes of fatigue is the internal structures that humans have, called a biological clock. This affects the biological and psychological process that humans undergo within the 24 hour time frame. These processes are often called “circadian rhythm”. As stated “circadian rhythm means a pattern which varies on a cycle of approximately 24 hours” (Strauss, n.d). This depicts that the human body reacts differently in different sets of time, such as feeling of hunger or feeling sleepy. These cues that trigger these feelings are called “zeitgebers” that is connected to the environment. Other factors that fluctuates these zeitgebers can be work activities or meals (Caldwell, 2003, p. 47).Because of these the internal body wakes when the sun goes up and gets sleepy when the sun comes down which is all dependent on circadian rhythm, these can be more noticeable when flying in different time zones. In airlines these processes are disturbed, which all relates back to fatigue. An example would be when an airline loses revenue it has to cope with loses, because of this airlines often reduce the labour cost as well as fuel cost consumption. This heavily affects the pilot as they have to cope with staff changing which may affect the crew management and increase pressure on the pilot as there will be an increase in schedules that are tough with extended duties, overall making the pilot in control more fatigued than he/she has ever been.

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