July 05, 2009
DOT OIG: Air Traffic Control: Potential Fatigue Factors
"Summary: On June 29, 2009, we issued our report on fatigue factors that could impact air traffic controllers. We conducted this audit at three critical Chicago air traffic control facilities at the request of Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois. These 3 facilities are among the top 10 busiest in the United States, and Senator Durbin expressed concerns that staffing shortfalls, longer hours on the job, and a growing shortage of certified controllers may be causing controller fatigue...We identified a number of factors at these three facilities that could create potential fatigue conditions for controllers. These include minimal hours between shifts; scheduled overtime; and on–the–job training, which requires a high level of concentration and focus from the instructing controller. Facility personnel also identified other factors that could cause fatigue, including inadequate staffing levels, increased work load (i.e., traffic volume and complexity), and extended time on position or lack of position rotation."