Work and Fatigue: Current Research

This page includes current NIOSH fatigue-related research by industry sector.

Contact the Center for Work and Fatigue Research for more information about our research

All Workers

The Effects of Stress and Night Shift Work on the Heart

Stress and night shift work are among the most challenging issues in occupational safety and health.  The main goal of this proposed study is to understand the synergistic effects of stress and night shift work on heart health using an animal model.  The study will identify targets for early cardiac event screening, thereby reducing the occurrence of sudden cardiac events in public safety workers as well as workers in other occupational settings.

Health Care and Social Assistance

Nurse Fatigue-Mitigation Education: Does it Change Nurse Sleep Behaviors?

The aim of this project is to examine the effectiveness of the online NIOSH Training for Nurses on Shift Work and Long Work Hours on registered nurse sleep health and wellbeing. Subjective and objective measures of fatigue, well-being and sleep will be assessed before and after taking the training.


Mining Applications of Novel Interventions for Fatigue–Evaluating Safety Toolkits (MANIFEST)

The objective of the MANIFEST project is to empower mining operators with the knowledge and ability to select, implement, and evaluate appropriate fatigue mitigation strategies that better support their workers to be well-rested, alert, aware, and ready through every shift. The project seeks to accomplish this objective through identifying measures of sleep and fatigue; developing, deploying, and evaluating sleep and fatigue interventions in the mining environment; and compiling information that is relevant and actionable for stakeholders in a usable toolkit interface.

Human-centric Lighting for Mitigating Mineworker Circadian Disruption

One potential side effect of operating on a 24/7 basis can be worker fatigue and the disruption of circadian rhythms that can result in an increase in accidents due to sleep loss, fatigue, and reduced alertness. There are also health consequences like obesity, diabetes, and cancer. Light is one of the most powerful factors for adjusting our body’s internal clock to align with the natural day and night cycle. This is adjustment entrainment of circadian rhythms and it can reduce fatigue and improve alertness. The objective of this project is to investigate the feasibility and efficacy of human-centric lighting (HCL) interventions to reduce mineworker circadian disruption (CD) and improve well-being for underground metal and coal miners.

Oil and Gas Extraction

Assessing Fatigue and Fatigue Management in U.S. Onshore Oil and Gas Extraction 

The goals of this project are to: better understand the extent to which fatigue and its antecedents are affecting U.S. onshore oil and gas extraction (OGE) workers, especially those employed by small contractor companies; identify worker and work design factors to consider when developing and implementing fatigue management strategies among contractors in the OGE industry; and determine the state of Fatigue Risk Management Systems (FRMS) and other fatigue mitigation strategies in place for participating companies and if these strategies are associated with better safety outcomes.

Fatigue and Distracted Driving in Oil and Gas Extraction (OGE): Risks and Interventions

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related fatality in the U.S. Motor vehicle fatality rates in the Oil and Gas extraction industry is 8.5 times higher than other industries. This project aims to identify sources of fatigue among OGE drivers and to determine the effectiveness of two fatigue detection devices to reduce the risk for fatigue.

Public Safety

Online Training for Law Enforcement Officers to Reduce Risks Associated with Shift Work and Long Work Hours

The goal of this study is to develop and pilot test a new, interactive, online training program tailored for law enforcement. The program relays the health and safety risks associated with shift work, long work hours, and related workplace fatigue issues and presents strategies for managers and officers to reduce these risks. The pilot test will use a one group pre-test, training intervention, post-test design to assess changes in sleep and knowledge before and after the training and collect participants’ feedback about the training.

Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities

Fatigue Assessment and Measurement in Electrical Utility Work (FAME)

While work scheduling is a key element in fatigue management, Electrical Utility (EU) organizations have reported that fatigue rarely occurs during expected schedules, but happens more commonly during power outages, working alone or when an operation is not sufficiently staffed. As such, industry members have identified a need for predictive or real-time monitoring of fatigue for more effective fatigue mitigation. Despite this clearly identified need, fewer than 1 in 10 organizations report using Fatigue Detection Technologies (FDTs).

Our study will meet this need by identifying FDTs that are feasible in EU work environments, through a systematic literature review, interviews with subject matter experts, a field study to test potential FDTs and feedback from EU employers and workers.

Evaluating an Intervention Designed to Reduce Fatigue among Taxi Drivers

The main goal of this project is to reduce fatigue among taxi drivers and other drivers-for-hire who are at risk of fatigue-related motor vehicle crashes. These individuals work long and irregular hours and may be driving as a second job. The research has two parts: 1) the development of eLearning training on fatigue management targeting drivers-for-hire, and 2) an experimental study evaluating the effectiveness of the training, along with feedback provided to drivers through wearable activity monitors, in reducing fatigue levels. Pre- and post-module knowledge tests will be embedded in the training to measure drivers’ knowledge and attitudes about fatigue management.

Evaluation of North American Fatigue Management Program

This project will evaluate the effectiveness and cost benefits of the North American Fatigue Management Program (NAFMP). Results will guide future comprehensive safety initiatives, rulemaking, and programs to reduce truck driver fatigue. Study findings may lead to: (1) revisions to the format, content, and the method of delivery for the training materials in the NAFMP, (2) increased use of NAFMP by carriers and commercial vehicle drivers, and (3) driver fatigue research advancements.

Short Haul Truck Drivers and Health

This pilot project is a cross-sectional study utilizing survey methods to investigate the link between a comprehensive set of personal and occupational risk factors with local/short-haul (L/SH) commercial drivers’ safety, physical health, and mental well-being. Using a Total Worker Health framework, this study also investigates organizational and personal protective mechanisms that support driver health behaviors, safety, and well-being. Results will address a gap in knowledge of how work design and occupational stressors relate to L/SH driver health. The results will also provide direction for consideration in the future design of targeted interventions to improve the organization of work in the L/SH industry.

Long Haul Truckers Survey

In 2010, NIOSH surveyed long-haul truck drivers in the U.S. to determine national estimates of work-related health and safety conditions. Survey results, published in 2014, suggest a need to focus on these health conditions to prevent injury and illness and improve overall driver health. Five papers have been published expanding on results of this survey with more to come.

Occupational Surveys