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Occup Med (Lond). 2008 May;58(3):198-204. doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqn008. Epub 2008 Feb 29.

Fatigue and health in a seafaring population.

Author information

1
Centre for Occupational and Health Psychology, Cardiff University, UK. wadsworthej@cardiff.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Occupational fatigue is relatively common within the general population and has been linked to reduced performance, injury and longer term ill-health. Despite growing acknowledgement of this problem in the maritime sector, little research has been conducted into the risk factors, prevalence and consequences of seafarers' fatigue.

AIMS:

To examine the prevalence of fatigue among seafarers, identify potential risk factors and assess possible links with poor performance and ill-health.

METHODS:

Cross-sectional questionnaire survey of seafarers working in the offshore oil support, short-sea and deep-sea shipping industries. A number of tools were used including the fatigue subscale of the profile of fatigue-related symptoms, the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire, the General Health Questionnaire and the SF36 General Health scale.

RESULTS:

In all, 1855 questionnaires were completed giving an overall response rate of 20%. Fatigue symptoms were associated with a range of occupational and environmental factors, many unique to seafaring. Reporting a greater number of risk factors was associated with greater fatigue [e.g. OR = 2.53 (1.90-3.35) for those with three or four risk factors and OR = 9.54 (6.95-13.09) for those with five or more risk factors]. There was also a strong link between fatigue and poorer cognitive and health outcomes, with fatigue the most important of a number of risk factors, accounting for 10-14% of the variance.

CONCLUSIONS:

Seafarers' fatigue could impact on safety within the industry and may be linked to longer term individual ill-health. It can only be addressed by considering how multiple factors combine to contribute to fatigue.

PMID:
18310605
DOI:
10.1093/occmed/kqn008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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