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Stress and fatigue in aviation on the increase says researcher
5 May 2010
Increasing demands, precarious work and a lack of financial security have made civil aviation workers more vulnerable to stress and fatigue. That was the message put forward recently by a researcher looking into stress and fatigue as part of an ITF study.
Speaking at a public meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, on 29 April hosted by the Turkish ITF-affiliated aviation union Hava-Is, Dr Ellen Rosskam, lead researcher on the ITF global stress and fatigue study, addressed pilots, cabin crew, ground staff, as well as airline representatives.
Rosskam explained why civil aviation workers, airlines and civil aviation authorities should be concerned about increased stress and fatigue levels and outlined responses received from ITF civil aviation affiliates during her research. She said: “According to almost 90 per cent of aviation workers, jobs are getting more and more demanding. And an increase in precarious work means more job stress. Those had been coupled with decreases in social and economic security.”
“Significant increases in cases of work-related stress were reported in all regions. North America had a 90 per cent increase in the number of cases between 2000 and 2007,” she added. However, she also emphasised a rise in collective social support during the post-September 11 period.
She noted: “Salaries, promotion prospects, and job security were lower in countries where there is no established collective bargaining process.”
In addition, she discussed changes that could be made to the way that people worked in order to alleviate stress and fatigue.
Participants later embarked on a lively discussion on topics such as the lack of a labour law for flight crew in Turkey, the weakness of the Turkish civil aviation authority and the role of the trade unions in enhancing flight safety.
Hava-Is is producing a booklet based on Rosskam’s presentation for its members and others involved in the Turkish civil aviation industry.
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