For years, some of our customers have puzzled over what they call “unexplained incidents” – accidents where there is no apparent fault in the machine, and the root cause can’t be identified. Upon investigation, many such incidents are attributed to operator fatigue, one of the top risk factors in the industries Caterpillar serves. Caterpillar Safety Services is responding to this challenge with a solution that combines technology and cultural change to help customers see, mitigate and manage fatigue on the job site.
Often, the first step to addressing fatigue is using the Fatigue Avoidance Scheduling Tool (FAST) to identify areas of risk and develop optimal work schedules. One data point into FAST can be the Cat® Smartband, a wearable technology that allows customer employees to track their fatigue level in real time and provides longitudinal data about sleep quantity and quality.
In addition, for equipment operators, the in-cab Driver Safety System (DSS) monitors second-by-second fatigue and distraction data. Cameras watch the behavior of an operator’s face and eyes and immediately alert them to signs of fatigue before an incident occurs. The data is also viewed by Caterpillar safety advisors in our 24/7 fleet monitoring center, who classify potential fatigue events and can alert job site management if necessary.
Caterpillar safety advisors can correlate data from the DSS, Smartbands and FAST with data from monitoring solution software on the equipment itself to produce a detailed management report that clearly outlines the scope of risk in operations. Customers can thus make practical use of information that was previously invisible, in order to create safer, healthier conditions for their employees.
We find that the best results come from combining technology with people solutions. So, along with on-site manager workshops that increase customers’ awareness of fatigue and distraction and help them build their overall safety culture, Caterpillar uses digital analytics to pinpoint and quantify trouble areas, empowering customers with data.