AIMS: To determine the effects of break duration and time of break onset on the amount of sleep that locomotive engineers obtain between consecutive work periods. METHODS: A total of 253 locomotive engineers (249 male, 4 female, mean age 39.7 years) participated. Data were collected at 14 rail depots, where participants drove electric or diesel locomotives; worked with another engineer or drove alone; carried passengers, freight, or coal; and operated in rural or urban areas. Participants completed sleep diaries and work diaries for a two week period while working their normal roster patterns. RESULTS: For breaks that began at similar times of day, total sleep time (TST) increased with break duration. For breaks of similar duration, TST was greater for those that occurred during the night-time than for those that occurred during the daytime. An average of 3.1-7.9 hours sleep was obtained in 12 hour breaks (minimum break requirement in the Australian rail industry), depending on when the break began. CONCLUSIONS: The duration and timing of breaks are both important factors in determining the amount of sleep that locomotive engineers obtain between consecutive work periods. Consequently, minimum length break requirements that do not include a time of day component may not provide locomotive engineers with the opportunity to obtain a sufficient amount of sleep prior to resuming work.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health