New Tools to Fight Fatigue
“No sleeping on the job.” “You can sleep when you’re dead.” “Sleep is for the weak.”
Any of these phrases sound familiar? Human beings are the only creatures who think we can fight (and beat) the desire to sleep. If you work at a desk all day, maybe that’s not such a big deal. But if you drive a truck for a living, fatigue can be a matter of life or death—for you and others on the road and jobsite. That’s why Caterpillar Safety Services has multiple tools designed to help you predict and prevent the risks associated with fatigue. Check them out:
Measure your risk on your wrist
Have you ever worn a device like a Fitbit to track your activity? Some of these wearables also measure sleep—but not very accurately. The Cat Smartband, on the other hand, is 93% as accurate as polysomnography (a medical sleep study) and 100% easier to take to work.
Originally designed for the U.S. military, the Cat Smartband can collect enough data on sleep quantity and quality in just 3-4 days to help the Caterpillar Safety Services team make accurate predictions about how your (or your drivers’) sleep patterns affect performance and risk. Once they diagnose any potential problems, they can work with you on ways to address them—like shifting schedules or changing work rotations.
Caterpillar Safety Services’ Fatigue Avoidance Scheduling Tool (FAST) uses scientifically validated algorithms to analyze all kinds of data from your organization: rosters, shift schedules, travel times, overtime, absenteeism, even Cat Smartband data. You can use this information to predict fatigue risk (for example, the time of day a driver is most likely to have an accident) and develop “what if” scenarios to improve safety (“If we shifted Driver A’s schedule ahead by one hour, what would that do to his fatigue risk?”).
Wake drivers in the cab
Predicting fatigue risk is all well and good, but what about addressing it in real time? That’s where the Driver Safety System comes into play. Its in-cab, optical-sensor system tracks eye movements, head orientation and facial expressions. When it senses behavior that indicates a driver is entering “micro-sleep” or is distracted, it vibrates the seat and sounds an alarm.
At the same time, the Driver Safety System sends an alert in the form of a compressed video clip and GPS data to a trained safety advisor at Caterpillar Safety Services’ 24/7 monitoring center. That individual can confirm if the driver was indeed falling asleep or distracted or if the event was a “false positive”—adding real intelligence to the artificial intelligence system in the cab.
The Driver Safety System currently is being installed on 5,000 Cat mining trucks globally, and its applications extend to all Cat products and beyond—think taxis, tour buses, even passenger cars. You’ll find similar technology in the steering wheels of 2016 Jaguars and Cadillacs.
Take it beyond technology
Technology is great at helping predict and prevent fatigue risk, but there’s a cultural element at play, too. In predominantly male, macho industries like trucking and construction, we can make people feel ashamed of being tired, to the point that they often won’t admit—and may vehemently deny—that they need sleep. That can have disastrous consequences.
To help companies change their “sleep cultures,” Caterpillar Safety Services offers workshops, training and assessements to help you understand how your attitudes toward fatigue may actually be INCREASING risk—and how some simple changes in how you talk about sleep can have a big effect on safety.
Want to learn more about the dangers of fatigue and the tools available to help you address it? Visit safety.cat.com/fatigue. You can download PDFs with all the details and get in touch directly with Caterpillar Safety Services experts to implement any of these solutions. They’re here to help—because we all want to make sure you and your team go home to your loved ones safely every day.