New US shift rules to prevent fatigue

US officials announced new shift rules for air traffic controllers on April 17 as part of a “zero tolerance” policy to stop controlers falling asleep while working
Hank Krakowski, head of US air traffic control, resigned last week, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pledged a major shake-up to restore public trust in its safety.
“We expect controllers to come to work rested and ready to work and take personal responsibility for safety in the control towers,” Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood in a statement announcing the new rules.
“We have zero tolerance for sleeping on the job,” he said. “Safety is our top priority and we will continue to make whatever changes are necessary.”
The new regulations, which have already been implemented, require the country´s 15,000 air traffic controllers to have at least nine hours off between shifts — one more than the current eight-hour minimum, FAA said.
The rules also restrict shift-swapping in order to prevent short down-time between shifts, and ban controllers from switching to unscheduled midnight shifts following a single day off.
“Research shows us that giving people the chance for even an additional one hour of rest during critical periods in a schedule can improve work performance and reduce the potential for fatigue,” FAA administrator Randy Babbitt said in the statement.
FAA managers, too, are now required to schedule their own shifts in a way that would assure greater coverage in early morning or late night hours.