On Dec. 2, 2016 thecontinued its focus on human factors in maintenance and published Advisory Circular (AC) Maintainer Fatigue Risk Management (FRM). The AC took three years for agency officials to produce; the final document has not changed substantially since a draft was released for comment last spring.
The guidance document comes in response to previous studies and reports citing maintenance-provider fatigue as a “serious safety hazard.” A study completed in 2000 found that, on average, maintenance providers slept 3 hr. less than the recommended eight, a sleep deficit twice the national average. In a subsequent survey of maintenance personnel around the globe, 82% stated that human fatigue was a problem in their organizations.
The AC seeks to educate the community on basic sleep needs, FRM systems and the benefits of incorporating FRM in a safety management system (SMS). The AC joins several other fatigue guidance documents directed at the aviation community and continues the trend to drive fatigue management through SMS in lieu of a “one-size-fits-all” duty-time limitation. FAA officials have stated that there are no plans to couple the guidance with formal rulemaking.
— Crystal Maguire