Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM)

Advanced Fatigue Management (AFM) accreditation brings a risk management approach to managing driver fatigue. Rather than setting 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 management system.

News: the NHVR invited operators, who are transitioning their current AFM accreditation to the AFM accreditation under the new national provisions, to a workshop.

The AFM Transitional Operators Workshop - Fact sheet (PDF, 124KB) sets out the questions and answers that were provided at the workshop.

Risk Classification System

The NHVR assesses proposed AFM work and rest arrangements under a Risk Classification System (RCS). The RCS helps to assess the levels of fatigue risk associated with combinations of work, rest and sleep, and is based on fatigue science and research. It enables operators to submit work schedules with higher risk potentials (such as longer or more frequent shifts) that are alleviated by offsetting across seven key fatigue management principles (for example, increased work related breaks).

The Risk Classification System Tool (PDF, 192KB) is used by the NHVR when assessing an AFM application and provides greater transparency on application decisions.

Benefits of RCS

  • Greater flexibility in work schedules.
  • Decreased administrative and financial burdens in developing and approving your AFM application.
  • Faster approval periods, leading to improved business operations and productivity.
  • Transparency in decisions as applicants and the NHVR use the same tool to assess a proposed schedule.
  • You can self-assess your application.

How the AFM application process and RCS work

Applicants for AFM will assess their fatigue risk profile for their common work schedules, against seven fatigue management principles (see below).

A risk potential rank from baseline to high is set for each principle. Using the Risk Classification System Tool (PDF, 192KB) you can see the risk potential ranking for your particular work schedule and can derive a profile for your entire schedule. You should use this information when deciding what countermeasures are needed for your fatigue management system. The fatigue management system must comply with the 10 AFM standards and must contain countermeasures to safely manage the fatigue risks.

If you propose multiple high or medium risk potentials, you may have to 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 work tasks if your circumstances change.

See the Advanced Fatigue Management Business Rules (PDF, 322KB) for more information about the AFM application process.

Seven fatigue management principles

The seven 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 Risk Classification System Tool (PDF, 192KB) can assist you in calculating the fatigue risks in your proposed work and rest hours.

Ten AFM Standards

There are ten 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).

Pre-existing AFM accreditation

Operators who had pre-existing AFM accreditation on 10 February 2014 (prior to implementation of the RCS) are not required to re-apply for AFM until their current approval ends. At this time, operators will be able to transition their accreditation to the RCS.

If an operator's previous AFM system is considered incompatible with the RCS, they can elect to have their current AFM system reapproved, if they agree to work with the NHVR to transition their current system to work under the RCS.

Transport ministers have set a timeframe for this transition period. AFM accreditation approved under this arrangement will end on the 31 December 2015. The NHVR is committed to working through all issues so that current AFM participants have a smooth transition to the new arrangements, and has begun working closely with those affected.