Managing A Hidden Threat

Caterpillar Fatigue Risk Management System offers multiple layers of protection against two costly but less-than-obvious dangers: operator fatigue and distraction.
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Fatigued operators pose serious safety risks.


To help its customers in the mining industry manage the significant impact that fatigue, sleepiness and distraction can have on their sites, Caterpillar has combined technologies, process and expertise into a complete Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS).

“One of the key differentiators of our FRMS offering is its ability to bring visibility to risk factors never seen before,” says David Edwards, a safety solutions manager in the Caterpillar Global Mining organization. “The system applies root cause data to a continuous improvement process that delivers sustainable culture change. Basically what we’re doing is making the invisible, visible.”

With specialized in-cab equipment that alerts an operator when a fatigue or distraction event is detected and data monitoring to identify risk trends, FRMS can help sites prevent incidents in the moment and give line of sight to a host of factors that influence safety and operational performance. Caterpillar also offers safety management consulting and training to help sites build and sustain a culture that supports their fatigue management system.



The full offering of fatigue management services offered by Caterpillar Safety Services includes:

  • Implementation, integration and support of fatigue monitoring technology, as well as change management to will dramatically increase the likelihood for success.
  • Executive/supervisor fatigue risk management training, providing education on how to manage employees when dealing with fatigue and the protocols, steps and techniques they can use on a day-to-day basis to mitigate fatigue.
  • Employee/family fatigue awareness training that will help operators learn how to best manage their time away from work, and help families learn how to support their shift worker.
  • Site fatigue risk assessment, to identify the most appropriate technologies and solutions to be incorporated into the FRMS. Caterpillar will do gap analysis and audit existing fatigue management systems and find ways to take them to the next level of improvement.
  • Roster/shift schedule fatigue optimization and staffing level analysis
  • Workload assessment, identifying if the site has the right number of people, and the correct workload volume that will allow employees to work safely and effectively
  • 24/7 fatigue monitoring services, allowing the site to outsource the observation and analysis of fatigue-related events

Looking At The Big Picture

Fatigue monitoring technologies, like the Driver Safety System (DSS) that Caterpillar offers in partnership with Seeing Machines, are making it possible for sites to know more about their operators’ fitness for duty than ever before.

“Our customers know that fatigue is a problem, but without the data, they don’t really know how significant an issue it is,” says Edwards.

“The DSS gives them that data so they can truly measure it.” Caterpillar is taking that visibility further by combining it with other on-board technologies to develop risk profiles based on as much data as possible to improve site safety.

“We can use these technologies to bring insight to our customers in a very real way,” says Edwards. “For example, a mine site may not believe it has an issue with fatigue. But at the same time, they’re experiencing wear and tear on tires. When we combine fatigue information with equipment health information, we discover that the tires are wearing out because operators are using the berm as a rumble strip when they nod off. The data allows us to make that connection.”

Research has shown that only about 10 percent of accidents and incidents are the result of equipment issues, Edwards says. “But 90 percent of accidents are caused by peoples’ attitudes, actions and beliefs. And we’ve built a toolbox of technologies, services and best practices that allows us to truly see and address those behaviors.”

That toolbox is the FRMS. “Hardware and software alone won’t resolve fatigue,” says Edwards. “It has to be part of a system. We’re putting all the right tools into the toolbox to create that system.”

For more information about Cat technologies for mining safety, visit