Is it any wonder people are falling asleep on the job?
One common schedule linked to fatigue by the FAA studies is widely known as the “rattler” because it can be so jarring to the system. On this shift, a controller compacts five shifts into four days and on the last day works two shifts in a 24-hour period, making it nearly impossible to get decent sleep.
A joint panel made up of FAA and union officials earlier this year proposed adding to the number of hours off between shifts on this schedule, according to documents obtained by USA TODAY.
However, the scientific studies that led to the suggestion also say that the best way to ensure controllers working during the wee hours are alert is to also give them a chance to nap during regular breaks. So far the FAA has been unwilling to allow controllers or pilots to sleep while on duty and Saturday’s FAA release did not mention the possibility of napping.