Fatigue Transportation

Managing fatigue risk in the tugboat, towboat and barge industry: New guide available

tug with container ship
Photo: catscandotcom/iStockphoto

Arlington, VA — In an effort to address a persistent concern in the tugboat, towboat and barge industry, the American Waterways Operators has released a guide on various principles of fatigue risk management.

Published on Oct. 22, the guide was developed by the advocacy organization’s Fatigue Risk Management Group, which identified four core elements of the issue: education, environment, work readiness and fatigue reporting, and performance measurement. For each element, the guide outlines topics and strategies for operators to consider.


Further, the guide explores the potential impact of the following factors on worker fatigue: wellness programs, sleep disorders, commuting, duty hours, sleep strategies and sustainability.

“Fatigue risk management plans take a comprehensive, customized approach to addressing fatigue within a company, including policies and practices to address a wide range of fatigue risk factors and mitigation measures,” the resource states. “This guide is tailored to the unique operational and environmental challenges of the towing industry.”

AWO directs organizations to assess existing strategies for fatigue risk mitigation before adopting recommendations from the guide.

“AWO continues to strive to make our safe industry even safer, and this guide is another step toward our goal of zero harm to human life,” AWO President and CEO Tom Allegretti said in an Oct. 22 press release. “We hope that this guide will serve as a useful tool for the tugboat, towboat and barge industry – an industry committed to a culture of safety and continuous improvement.”

The National Transportation Safety Board includes reduce fatigue-related accidents on its list of 10 “Most Wanted” safety improvements for 2017-2018.

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