We have spent a significant amount of time in the FRMS already and some of you may be feeling like we haven’t actually DONE anything yet. I understand completely. But I also know from past experience that without a solid, comprehensive and well planned program, we often end up running around putting bandages on things, putting out fires or just plain shutting things down. With all of our initial work to Engage, Assess, Define and Develop largely done, we now turn our focus on rolling out our layers of protection.
A key area of the Implementation phase is the communication to all stakeholders. This includes employees, supervisors, managers and executives. The content may be different but it is a necessary part of the implementation roll out. Communication helps set the stage as well as get feedback on potential resistance that may need to be addressed. This also goes a long way in creating and improving the safety and fatigue management culture. Be sure to share specific timelines, expectations and outcomes as well as provide avenues for input. This starts to be very important and helpful for our Check phase which will follow our Implementation.
You will also benefit from these communications as they will form part of the data you use to determine the effectiveness of your countermeasures and possible improvements. And remember that you will need real and honest input from participants in the countermeasures. If they feel that they can be honest in their responses and data, you will get the truth about the effectiveness of your layers of protection.
One thing I want to mention here is that as we work through the beginning stages of the FRMS, we may identify some areas where we can have immediate successes in mitigating fatigue. One example may be related to fatigue technology that was implemented as part of the Assess stage. There is nothing wrong with keeping these technologies running as we work on the rest of our FRMS. However, a word of caution: don’t take any successes from this and assume you are done. If you have conducted a comprehensive Assess phase, you will have identified multiple sources and impacts of fatigue. These need to be properly worked through as well. But you can build off potential success from quick hitting implementations throughout the entire FRMS. As another example, you may identify that you need to provide training specifically for supervisors on managing fatigue in themselves and their reports. As long as you have gone through the process of identifying the materials, communications, timing, etc., there is no reason to wait until you have completed the Develop phase for the other layers of protection.
So, as you implement, don’t forget to capture the feedback. I hope and believe you will start to see how you are improving the lives of all involved.