NASEMSO Fatigue Risk Management Guidelines


Fatigue refers to “a subjective, unpleasant symptom, which incorporates total body feelings ranging from tiredness to exhaustion creating an unrelenting overall condition which interferes with an individual’s ability to function to their normal capacity.”1 Work-related fatigue affects greater than half of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel.2 In addition, greater than half report poor sleep quality and inadequate recovery between scheduled shifts.3


Fatigue is a threat to the safety of EMS personnel, their patients, and the public. The odds of injury, medical error, patient adverse events, and safety compromising behaviors are higher among fatigued EMS personnel than non-fatigued personnel.4 Ambulance crashes, line of duty deaths, and patient mortality have been linked to sleep and fatigue of EMS personnel.5, 6, 7, 8 Despite the dangers of fatigue, guidance for mitigating fatigue in the EMS workplace has been limited.9 Read the complete guidelines for more information and references.