Feeling tired? Fatigue is a year-round issue in transport, not just in the darker months.

Woman driving with fatigue in a car 

If you believe your company isn’t managing fatigue effectively, that ways of working are making fatigue more likely, or are worried about your own fatigue, make the right call and report it.

You can raise concerns about fatigue confidentially to us. We know it can be hard to talk about, especially if you fear the consequences of sharing that you’ve made a mistake or fallen asleep. We listen and tell the company your concern so it reaches the right people. We never reveal who you are.

We also take note of what reporters are concerned about, without identifying details, to help inform future industry safety improvements.

Fatigue concerns we’ve listened to since 2021 have most often been about working on trains. The next top three locations are even between stations or other transport hubs, depots, and signalling or control centres.

But our reports for the supply chain sector include the highest proportion of fatigue concerns.

Fatigue risks can have different effects depending on someone’s work, but the consequences can be equally serious. Reporters have worried that fatigue could affect focus when driving, or dispatching train services, or that a fatigued signaller could contribute to a train accident.

Although few of our reports mention fatigue compared with other concerns, we hear about fatigue consistently. We have listened to more concerns about fatigue since April 2023 than the equivalent period in the previous two years. Can anything be done?

Raising a concern gives your organisation’s leaders a chance to step back, listen, and think about what could improve the situation. Are resources planned effectively? Can something be done differently so that people are less fatigued?

Outcomes from CIRAS reports have included rostering reviews, better monitoring, and new processes to record actual hours worked. Companies have block-booked hotels in response, scheduled work for fewer hours, and reviewed resourcing and workload. So make sure your concerns are heard.

Low staff levels, rostering, and workload have all been reported to us as contributing to fatigue or making a fatigue-related incident more likely.

In our reports, we see this as:

  • a heavy workload meaning people can’t take breaks
  • people in depots not being able to control their workload
  • not enough staff to relieve signallers so they can take breaks
  • new rosters not providing enough time for breaks.

Did you know?

  • Analysis of investigation reports* showed fatigue as a factor in about 20% of high-risk rail incidents.
  • Fatigue is a factor in 20% of accidents on major roads.**
*Rail Safety and Standards Board
**Health & Safety Executive

Find out more

Fatigue risk and prevention

Fatigue in focus: CIRAS case studies

Six lifestyle tips to reduce fatigue

Change to Network Rail's fatigue standard

Shared good practice

UK Tram: innovating to prevent fatigue events

Alstom: fatigue management and sleep quality

Sleep and shift working: study findings