Fatigue Surveys and Focus Groups

Exploring The Workforce’s Experience of Fatigue

Identifying fatigue in an operation requires multi-faceted data collection from different sources. A key source of information are your front-line personnel. The workforce are both the ‘users’ of your fatigue risk management processes, as you aim to manage their fatigue, and a key source of information to inform and improve your fatigue risk management. Fatigue surveys and focus groups provide a means of collecting these data from across your workforce. 

What Can Fatigue Surveys and Focus Groups Provide?

Frontline personnel engage with fatigue reporting systems, and fatigue reports highlight unusual or uncommon events, or those events associated with the highest level of fatigue. Fatigue surveys and focus groups can provide greater context, allowing you to gain insight into common or low risk events, whether personnel engage with your fatigue reporting system, the most common causes of fatigue in the operation, and suggestions as to how fatigue could be mitigated. Another benefit is the insight into your operational culture. Some personnel may not feel confident to engage with your fatigue reporting system, or feel that using fatigue reports makes no difference. This evidence will be missing from your fatigue picture, and can be collected through speaking directly to the workforce. 

Questions This Service Can Answer

Fatigue surveys and focus groups can be used to understand the effectiveness of your fatigue training, for example:

  • Is your staff’s view and experience of fatigue aligned with what management think? 
  • Are the personal countermeasures that people most often use effective? 
  • Do they know where, why and how they report fatigue?  



They can also provide you with avenues for improvement:  

  • What part of the operation is most commonly associated with elevated fatigue?
  • Are there parts of the operation associated with very high levels of fatigue? 
  • Are there indicators of elevated risk due to fatigue – for example are microsleeps occurring during safety critical tasks or during commuting by car? 
  • If people are not engaging with the reporting system, why is that?  
  • Do people not want to report fatigue because they worry about punishment or loss of pay?  
  • Do they not remove themselves from duty due to fatigue because they don’t want to inconvenience their colleagues, the customer, or the company?

Our Approach

We can provide fatigue surveys, fatigue focus groups or a combination of the two approaches to help you obtain a better understanding of fatigue in your operation, and how well your FRMS is working.

We work with you to ensure that the survey is tailored to your organisation, matching questions specific to you with fatigue-specific questions that we have developed with our 15 years of experience in effective fatigue risk management. Surveys are distributed to the whole workforce, to provide an understanding of the experiences of all your front-line personnel, whilst focus groups sample a smaller population, and allow for deeper exploration of context and specific responses. Focus groups are carried out using a semi-structured approach, so that whilst the same general questions are asked to all groups, answers can be followed up to explore emerging themes in-depth.  

Our Experience

At Baines Simmons, we have over 15 years of experience of assisting operators to manage fatigue risk. This includes designing and analysing fatigue surveys that are specifically designed to provide information that informs your fatigue risk management approach. We are also experienced in undertaking focus groups, including identifying key themes and facts, and cross-checking information between different groups for re-enforcement or challenging of the identified themes.  

Part of Our FRM Pathway

No matter where you are in your FRM journey, data on the experiences of your workforce is essential. If you are beginning to understand and explore fatigue risk management, the data can ensure that you are targeting the areas most at need by responding to the data collected. If you have been managing fatigue through your safety management system, or have an established FRMS, fatigue surveys and focus groups provide data that allows you to continually improve your management of fatigue, whether that is through increasing the effectiveness of training, identifying emerging fatigue risks, or enabling the targeting of increased countermeasures at specific demographic groups for whom there has been change.