Fatigue is common in the railroad industry. Thirty-one different studies have indicated that long hours, exhaustive workloads, pre-dawn or late-night shifts, and several other factors that cause insufficient sleep are commonplace for railroad workers.
We all know that mistakes happen when we are tired. It’s no stretch then to conclude that fatigue places workers at risk for accidents and injury. Not only are workers at risk, but so is the general public. Train operators have important responsibilities, and when they are overly tired, a small mistake can turn into a tragic accident.
A great resource for railroad workers is the Railroaders’ Guide to Healthy Sleep, a website designed with railroaders in mind. It was developed by Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep Medicine in 2012 to help railroad workers establish balance in their lives.
Unpredictable schedules, stressful work and sometimes difficult everyday conditions make it especially difficult for railroad workers to maintain a healthy work/life balance. This is just as important for railroaders as it is for their families and friends.
Railroad Workers Sleep Disorders Self Assessment
The site provides four self-assessments, including an anonymous Sleep Disorders Screening tool, that allow you to determine if you are at risk for on-the-job fatigue, as well as helpful information on topics like obstructive sleep apnea and caffeine use. The results of your self-assessments are completely anonymous and will never be reported to your employer or anyone else.
Sleep is important to every one of us. Whether your work schedule is the same each week or you are on-call, if you are a railroader, your day is full of critical decisions. You need to be on your top game, which means taking care of yourself—and getting enough sleep.
Even if you think you get plenty of sleep, it’s not a bad idea to make sure. Using the Railroaders’ Guide to Healthy Sleep can identify hidden risks and provide the resources you need to take control of your life, and to reduce your risks for accidents, injuries, or death—for you, or for someone else who’s relying on you.