Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM)

Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM) is the most flexible work and rest hours option available. Rather than using prescribed work and rest hours, AFM offers the flexibility to propose your own hours as long as the fatigue risks of those hours are offset by sleep, rest and other management practices in a compliant fatigue risk management system.

The NHVR has released new resources to assist operators with applying for AFM.

Why AFM?

Based on the way AFM is currently used within the industry there are two main types of benefits.

The first type of benefit is commercial. For example, you may experience commercial benefits by:

  • having the hours available to cover new routes
  • being able to complete routes more effectively than your competitors
  • attracting and retaining experienced drivers
  • attaining a higher level of efficiency
  • demonstrating a commitment to safety
  • having Fatigue Risk Management Systems assist with CoR obligations.

The second type of benefit is simplification. For example, you may experience simplification benefits by:

  • creating a set of work and rest rules that are easier to understand
  • being able to develop simpler schedules
  • reducing confusion and compliance stress for drivers
  • gaining more control.

What is AFM?

AFM is a non prescriptive approach to work and rest hours. It allows the NHVR to give flexible work and rest arrangements to operators who adopt a risk management approach to managing driver fatigue. In AFM, you propose your own work and rest hours based on your individual needs rather than using the hours stated by Standard Hours or BFM. In order to be granted AFM accreditation, you must demonstrate to the NHVR that you understand the risks these hours can create and must demonstrate that you can and will take steps to off-set these risks.

The NHVR uses 7 fatigue risk principles to judge the likelihood the proposed hours will cause driver fatigue and 10 AFM standards to assess the adequacy of your fatigue risk management system.

How to prepare an AFM application

If you are considering applying for AFM you should assess your proposed work and rest arrangements by using the Fatigue Risk Assessment Tool. Doing this will give you a greater understanding of the high and low risk areas within your proposal and may assist you in developing suitable countermeasures.

Using the Fatigue Risk Assessment Tool you can see the risk ranking for your particular work schedule in relation to the seven fatigue principles and can determine a risk profile for your entire schedule. You should use this information when deciding what countermeasures are needed for your fatigue management system. Your fatigue management system must conform with the 10 AFM standards and must contain countermeasures to safely manage any fatigue risks.

You should prepare a safety case that describes how the fatigue risks are managed by the business practices described in your fatigue management system.

You always have the option to amend your approved hours if your circumstances change.

AFM Application Toolkit 

The AFM application toolkit has been developed as a series of tools, booklets and templates to step you through the entire process of applying for AFM. By following the toolkit you will be guided through collecting the right information and preparing your application for the NHVR.

Setting your own operating limits and countermeasures

Use this booklet to gain a better understanding of the type of schedules and work and rest hours that are currently approved within AFM. The booklet describes hours that have been used and how operators use them. This booklet also contains examples of a wide range of countermeasures that are currently used. 

Fatigue Risk Assessment Tool

Use this tool to calculate your risk for each of the seven fatigue risk principles. The tool will also create a safety case template for you to use.

More resources coming soon.

Seven fatigue risk principles

The 7 fatigue risk principles are grouped into three categories:

Work-related rest breaks (such as short rest breaks):

  1. Reduce the time spent continuously working in the work opportunity
  2. The more frequent breaks from driving, the better 

Recovery breaks (such as major rest breaks):

  1. Ensure an adequate sleep opportunity in order to obtain sufficient sleep
  2. Maximise adequate night sleep
  3. Minimise shifts ending between 00:00-06:00
  4. Minimise extended shifts

Reset breaks (such as long periods of rest or extended leave):

  1. Prevent accumulation of fatigue with reset breaks of at least 30hrs (and include two night periods, 00:00 – 06:00) between work sequences

The Fatigue Risk Assessment Tool assists you in calculating the fatigue risks in your proposed work and rest hours.

Ten AFM Standards

There are 10 fatigue management standards that you need to comply with for AFM.

  1. Scheduling and rostering – scheduling of trips and rostering of drivers must incorporate fatigue management measures.
  2. Readiness for duty – drivers are in a fit state to safely perform required duties.
  3. Fatigue knowledge and awareness – all personnel involved in the management, operation, administration, participation and verification of the AFM option can demonstrate competency in fatigue knowledge relevant to their position on the causes, effects and management of fatigue and the operator’s fatigue management system.
  4. Responsibilities – the authorisations, responsibilities and duties of all positions involved in the management, operation, administration, participation and verification of their operations under the AFM option are current, clearly defined and documented and carried out accordingly.
  5. Internal review – an internal review system is implemented to identify non-compliances and verify that the activities comply with the AFM Standards and the operator’s fatigue management system.
  6. Records and documentation – the operator will implement, authorise, maintain and review documented policies and procedures that ensure the effective management, performance and verification of the AFM option in accordance with the standards. Records that demonstrated the compliant operation of the AFM option are collected, stored and maintained to verify compliance.
  7. Health – drivers are to participate in a health management system to identify and manage fatigue risks.
  8. Workplace conditions – workplace environments and conditions must assist in the prevention of fatigue.
  9. Management practices – management practices are to minimise the risks relating to driver fatigue.
  10. Operating limits – operating limits will provide drivers and operators with the flexibility to effectively manage fatigue.

For more information about what operators need to do in order to qualify for accreditation and to stay qualified, download the Advanced Fatigue Management Standards (PDF, 104KB).

How to Apply

Advanced Fatigue Management is a module of the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS). For more information on how to apply please read the Advanced Fatigue Management Business Rules (PDF, 322KB.