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Study of fatigue and workload among aircraft de-icing technicians

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Fatigue and workload experienced by aircraft de-icing personnel have been largely neglected in occupational health and safety research.

OBJECTIVE:

To provide an initial assessment of fatigue and workload among de-icing ground crews.

METHODS:

Company records were used to reveal possible relationships between different variables (age, seniority, truck type, and work shift). A group of 20 volunteer participants (17 men and 3 women) rated their level of fatigue before and after one shift using the Samn-Perelli fatigue scale. Workload was evaluated using the NASA-TLX method at the end of the shift.

RESULTS:

The average fatigue experienced by de-icing worker was significantly greater (P = 0.043) for the technicians in open-basket trucks than for the ones in trucks with a cabin (4.43 vs 3.37). Furthermore, there was a significant age difference (P= 0.048) in the perceived level of fatigue (4.1 vs 3.1), with younger workers (< 30 years) reporting a higher level than older workers (≥ 30 years). Overall NASA-TLX score were not significant (P> 0.05) for any of the factors tested: type of truck, shift and age.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results suggest that particular attention should be paid to young technicians and technicians working in open-basket trucks, since the fatigue levels reported in association with these factors were higher.

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