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New fatigue risk management rules for operators and pilots
Learn about CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013 which contains the fatigue rules for air operators and pilots.
We are now starting to implement our response to the independent review of the fatigue rules. Content on this page will be updated soon. Read more about these changes.
Who should read this information?
- New operators (those who applied for and became an Air Operator’s Certificate holder or Part 141 training operator after 30 April 2013) and future new operators.
- Air Operator Certificate (AOC) holders.
- All Part 141 Certificate holders.
Questions and answers
The following questions and answers clarify how the new fatigue rules apply to operators and pilots.
Please note that references to an ‘appendix' refer to the appendices in CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013.
- What is the transition timeline?
The transition timeline is currently under review as a result of the independent review of the fatigue rules.
Operators currently have until 31 October 2018 to transition to the provisions of Civil Aviation Order 48.1 Instrument 2013.
The deadline for operators and Part 141 certificate holders to submit draft operations manual changes or apply for a fatigue risk management system (FRMS) by 30 April 2018 no longer applies.
CASA is currently considering the findings and recommendations from independent review and will announce a new transition timetable as part of the formal response to the review.
Learn more about the fatigue rule transition timeline.
- What are the changes from the old approach to managing pilot fatigue?
The old rules (CAO 48) defined flight and duty-time limitations in a rigid way, without allowing operators the flexibility to customise the limits and requirements to their operation type. The new rules provide much more flexibility to operators, while incorporating contemporary risk-management processes. They give operators a choice on how to best manage pilot fatigue according to their needs and the nature of their operation. Basically, the more flexibility an operator desires, the more risk management is required.
- Why were these changes needed? What was wrong with the old system?
The fatigue rules are being updated as part of the overarching regulation reform program that seeks to align Australia with international standards, improve aviation safety, address known risks, and maintain our reputation for having an aviation industry that is among the safest in the world.
The case for updating the way fatigue is regulated and managed is well researched and documented. For example, in 1999 the House of Representative Standing Committee on Communication, Transport and the Arts conducted an inquiry into managing fatigue in the transport industries in Australia. The resulting report, ‘Beyond the Midnight Oil: Managing Fatigue in the Transport Industry (2000)’ highlighted the need to modernise the fatigue rules. CASA has conducted extensive research and consultation to support the requirement to move to a modernised fatigue system.
For more information:
- Read the report A review of the case for change: Scientific support for CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013.
- Watch the CASA Safety Video - Fatigue on CASA’s YouTube channel.
- What are the safety benefits of the new system?
These rules enhance safety by being more comprehensive, by being based on contemporary research, and by emphasising that air operators and pilots share responsibility for managing fatigue. The new system also includes educational material to help pilots better understand the risks of fatigue and how to mitigate it.
Information for pilots
- I'm a commercial pilot working for an operator. What do the new rules mean for me?
From 30 April 2013 pilots became legally responsible for managing circumstances surrounding a proposed flight that could cause them to feel too fatigued to operate an aircraft safely. Pilots must take steps to manage fatigue risk, including the possible decision not to operate an aircraft if they feel that they are unfit as a result of fatigue, or likely to become so (paragraph 16.1 of CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013).
How the new rules affect you also depends upon whom you work for. At some time between now and 31 October 2018 your employer will transition to the new rules-the exact time is up to your employer. Ask your employer when they intend to transition to fatigue management under the new rules. This will be confirmed once your operator's operations manual is amended to reflect the requirements of the new rules.
Many operators will be required to conduct formal fatigue management training for you. This training should help you understand the specific fatigue risks in your operation, and it should continue to take place at regular intervals.
If you work for an AOC holder or a Part 141 certificate holder, you must inform your employer about any factors that could impact on your ability to comply with the flight time and duty-time limitations, as well as other policies.
- I have a private pilot licence. Do I have any limitations in terms of flight times? Are there any new rules applicable to me?
At present there are no flight and duty-time limitations for private operations. However, a new requirement came into effect on 30 April 2013 which is applicable to all holders of a flight crew licence. This requirement makes it clear that you must not operate an aircraft whilst fatigued or likely to become fatigued during a flight. In order to help pilots understand fatigue, what causes it and how to identify it, all pilots should refer to CAAP 48-01.
- I am a Check and Training Pilot. Most of the time our operations are quite routine, but at times we get really busy. If I do a lot of training I find this leaves me quite drained at the end of the day and if I have to do this for several days in a row, I get worried about the workload. My company proposes to operate to one of the prescriptive appendices. What should I do?
As a method of managing this risk, you should discuss issues like this with your operator so that improvements to your operator's practices can be facilitated. Under the new approach, your operator is obliged to assess concerns like this and to take action where necessary.
- Pilots sometimes tell me they feel very tired at work. In the past they have felt the operator has not adequately handled this issue. How will the new CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013 address that?
Under CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013 fatigue management is both the responsibility of the operator and the pilot and these responsibilities are clearly defined in the regulations. For example, when a pilot raises safety concerns such as feeling fatigued at work, operators are obligated to assess the pilot's report and take action where necessary. The success of these reporting systems largely depends on there being an open and fair reporting culture within the workplace.
- Historically, some operators have attempted to sweep fatigue issues under the carpet. What can the regulator do?
Two things: Firstly, when the operator amends their operations manual to include their proposed method of managing their obligations under the regulations, CASA will assess this approach.
Following the approval of the amendments, CASA's inspectors will then assess how well the operator and pilots uphold their obligations under the proposed approach, during routine surveillance visits. During these visits CASA inspectors may also interview staff to make further assessments. If evidence suggests an operator is failing to adequately meet their obligations, then they will be required to take remedial steps to ensure they do so.
- I have had a recent incident. I was interviewed by my operator and was asked personal questions, for example, ‘How much sleep did you have last night?' and ‘Are you taking any medication?' Is this reasonable?
These types of questions are reasonable for the operator to ask in this situation. The operator should also ensure there is a clear process to keep this information private within the organisation. You should answer honestly so that your operator can make an accurate assessment. This will help your operator to identify causes of the event and use this information to develop ways of overcoming the issue in the future.
CASA urges individuals and operators to strive towards open and fair reporting. Under CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013 operators are required to make continuous improvement to their fatigue management approach and honestly reporting experiences will help this process.
Information for operators
- I have an exemption from flight and duty time limitations. How does this affect me?
When CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013 fully replaces CAO Part 48, all operator exemptions previously issued under CAO Part 48 will automatically stop (regardless of their expiry dates) and standard industry exemptions will no longer be available. This means that from 31 October 2018, operators cannot rely on exemptions and must operate under the CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013.
Operators who have continuously held their AOCs since 30 April 2013 or before (including Part 141 operators) have until 31 October 2018 to transition to the new rules. However, they may choose to transition earlier by notifying their local CASA office and electing a date of transition.
- I am about to apply for an AOC, or in the case of a flying training school, a Part 141 certificate. Is there anything I should be aware of about the new rules?
When applying for an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC)* or a Part 141 certificate you will need to comply with at least one appendix as well as the general rules of CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013. New operators must submit an operations manual including how they intend to uphold the limits and requirements set out under their chosen appendix in the new regulations.
The process of submitting your operations manual depends on whether it is an initial application or part of a transitional process.
* From 30 April 2013, new Standard Industry Exemptions (SIE) are no longer granted.
- I own a small flying school. How do the new fatigue rules affect me?
For example, flying training can only be conducted while it remains within the limits of Appendix 1 or Appendix 6 or it is being conducted under an approved FRMS.
It is important to note that Appendix 6 is very similar to Appendix 4, which means that an operator can conduct their single-pilot public transport service (charter) under Appendix 4 and only make minor changes to their limits for any flying training. The main differences are a limitation of 7 hours flying time when conducting flying training operations. Also, the minimum off-duty period is 12 hours after a flight duty period that contained flying training.
You must amend your operations manual to make it clear what appendix or appendices you intend to use for each activity and include documented limits that do not exceed the limits in the applicable appendix. Operator obligations apply under all the appendices, but additional requirements are applicable for appendices 2-6.
If you intend to operate under multiple appendices you must develop and document procedures to enable pilots to transition between appendices without affecting aviation safety.
- I think I can operate to Appendix 1. What does this mean in terms of operations manual amendments?
If you decide to conduct your entire operation under Appendix 1, your operations manual should include:
- documented limits that do not exceed the limits in Appendix 1
- documented rostering procedures to ensure the pilots do not exceed the documented limits, and
- a description of how parts of the operations manual or exposition that address fatigue management meet the requirements of subsection 14 of CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013.
Read more about what steps you need to take in order to transition to Appendix 1.
- I am the Safety Manager for a large company. We conduct a large amount of singe-pilot charter operations and also have a flying school. What will we have to do to comply with the new regime?
You will have a choice to make, including whether you operate to multiple appendices.
You may conduct operations under
- Appendix 1 - Basic limits, or
- Appendix 4 - Single-pilot operations,
- Appendix 6 - Flying training.
You may also choose to use Appendix 7 - Fatigue Risk Management System (FRMS), for all or part of your company's operations.
It is important to note that Appendix 6 is very similar to Appendix 4. This means that if you had a single pilot charter and you wanted to conduct flying training (or vice versa) you could set your limits up to comply with Appendix 4 for all operations.
In addition, you might need to develop:
- training for pilots and other relevant employees
- transition arrangements for pilots who will work under the requirements of multiple appendices from time-to-time, and
- details about how the company manages its obligations under the new CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013.
To begin operating under the new CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013:
- For appendices 1, 4, or 6, submit your updated operations manual to your CASA regional office
- For Appendix 7 (FRMS) read more information on how to develop and get CASA approval for an FRMS.
- Do I need CASA approval for changes I make to my operation as a result of the new rules?
Approvals are only required for Fatigue Risk Management Systems (FRMS), under Appendix 7.
If you intend to operate under one or more appendices 1-6, you need to submit an operations manual amendment to your CASA regional office where they are assigned for assessment. To ensure you are compliant with the new CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013 it is advised that you set a transition date far enough in advance to allow time for CASA to provide feedback on your operations manual changes, and for you to train your employees about fatigue and your new limits and procedures.
Your submission must:
- make clear what appendix or appendices you intend to work under. Operator obligations apply in all cases, but additional rules are applicable to appendices 2-6
- document limits for your employees that do not exceed the limits in the applicable appendix
- include documented rostering procedures to ensure your pilots do not exceed the documented limits
- document risk-management procedures which, given the nature of the operations, must be adequately identify fatigue hazards and manage them accordingly
- consider whether you need procedures and limits for augmented crew, split-duty operations and/or the use delayed reporting time
- include documented parts of the operations manual that address fatigue risk management and training.
- document appropriate limits and procedures within the operations and operating context, for what you know-or can reasonably assume-about each pilot. Where needed, alternative limits and procedures must also be documented.
- I am reading through the new CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013 and don't understand some aspects. How do I get help?
CAAP 48-01 - Fatigue management for flight crew members provides additional information to support the CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013. You can also browse the diverse list of fatigue management resources on the CASA website. Alternatively, you can seek assistance from Aviation Safety Advisors, an inspector at your local office or email email@example.com.
- My organisation has operated to an FRMS for several years. We think we can now operate to one of the prescriptive rule sets. Does this mean that I have to dismantle the existing FRMS processes?
No. Many of the existing processes will assist you in meeting your operator obligations under the new CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013. However, you must ensure that the prescriptive limitations implemented in your operations manual do not exceed the limitations in your chosen appendix. You also need to remove any references to your fatigue management policies as being an ‘FRMS'.
- I work for an operator who has a charter AOC with business jets. It is not limited to domestic operations. We often conduct both charters and private operations. For example, a charter to Los Angeles with a private flight home. We plan to operate to Appendix 2 for our public transport services. How will the new rules affect this practice?
Your status with the operator is as an inducted pilot, therefore any task that your operator assigns to you becomes ‘duty'. Since the flight home is a private operation, the flight-time limitations of Appendix 2 do not apply; in fact, there are no limits on private operations. For the private flight home, you are undertaking ‘duty' for the operator. This must be recorded for the purposes of determining cumulative duty time for future operations. Cumulative flight-time limits under an appendix must take into account all flight time, except flight time accrued during recreational private operations.
- I have several pilots working for me that work for other operators. How would I manage this under CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013?
A way of managing this would be to have the pilot bring along his or her other employer's flight and duty record. In order to comply with your limitations, you would need to be aware of your pilots' duty and flight times for any other operator and any days' off-duty they have had. You should consider implementing an operations manual procedure for this.
- I am a small operator with an aerial work AOC. I have had meetings with a couple of my pilots and it seems that at least one of them is going to use the new rules to get extra days off work, complaining they are too tired. What should I do?
Under CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013, pilots must identify when they are unfit for duty, or likely to become unfit for duty, as a result of fatigue. When this happens operators must not require the pilot to fly.
It is important for both the operator and their pilots to realise their responsibilities in managing fatigue risk. At times (through no direct fault of anyone) situations arise when individuals realise they are too tired to fly. Challenging the person's self-assessment or investigating whether the person is really fatigued, is not useful, as this will likely impact negatively on the open and fair reporting culture in your organisation. However, it may be helpful to determine why the employee is fatigued so that preventative measures can be taken for the future. This issue also highlights the importance of training pilots to make reliable self-assessments of their state of fatigue. The Alertness Consideration Table (Appendix G) in CAAP 48-01 - Fatigue management for flight crew members, offers a method of gauging fatigue risk when reporting to work during the flight duty period.
- I am operating under Appendix 1 - Basic limits. Does this mean I need to develop hazard identification and risk management processes?
While the flight-duty period and flight-time limits within Appendix 1 are relatively restrictive and do not specifically require dedicated hazard identification and risk management processes, they may be required by other regulations such as those regulations that require a safety management system. Depending on the activity, it may still be appropriate to tailor limits for individual pilots and particular tasks. For example, you might limit flight duty periods for some activities, such as intensive flying training or hot weather operations. This would be particularly important when considering new or inexperienced pilots.
These limits will need to be documented in your operations manual. Read more about the steps to transition to Appendix 1.
FRMS development and implementation
- My company is thinking about applying for an FRMS. What is involved?
Under CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013, any operator can consider using an FRMS (Appendix 7). However, the development and ongoing maintenance of an FRMS requires significant resources. CASA supports the use of a phased development and implementation of an FRMS, involving CASA milestone checks along the way. As part of this phased approach there is a trial period, after which final approval must be obtained. Operators seeking FRMS approval to continue existing operations on a ‘like for like’ basis under CAO 48.1 will not be charged for application or approval fees. More information on how much it costs to implement an FRMS is below.
Refer to the ‘What steps do I take’ for Appendix 7 page for more detailed information.
Visit our fatigue management resources page for useful materials including a booklet and video explaining FRMS and guidance material.
- I need rosters that provide for more duty hours than those under the proposed prescriptive limits. Can I get more hours using an FRMS?
Maybe. ICAO has indicated that any FRMS used by an operator should offer safety levels equal to or greater than those offered by the flight-time limitations of appendices 1-6. This is assessed during the phased introduction of the FRMS. It is up to the operator to demonstrate the level of safety their FRMS provides. Following the trial and approval of the FRMS, operators are required to demonstrate that they continue to manage fatigue risk appropriately as set out in their FRMS.
- My operator is planning to go down the FRMS path. Won't this just mean I have to work longer hours?
That depends upon a number of issues. Firstly, the prime goal of an FRMS is to contain the fatigue risk to within an acceptable level. To enable this, strategies are implemented to limit the fatigue risk as a result of a proposed change to a working condition such as new routes, new aircraft or changes to rostering practices. CAO 48.1 Instrument 2013 states that operators must have a mechanism in place for the ongoing involvement of pilots in the FRMS. This continued involvement is usually managed through a regular meeting of experts and stakeholders (Fatigue Safety Action Group-FSAG).
- I am the managing director for a large airline. We want to use an FRMS so we have a clear process for identifying and assessing our fatigue risk. My main worry is that pilots may use tiredness as an excuse to not work, thus interrupting the network's schedules. How does CASA suggest we deal with this?
Under the new FRMS requirements, employers must provide regular training for employees. This will assist employees to understand their responsibilities and requirements regarding fitness for duty. If an employee reports as being too fatigued to accept a duty, then the employer should gather as much information from the employee as possible to determine whether this fatigue was accumulated as a result of prior duty, or because the employee did not achieve a sufficient amount of sleep prior to the duty. An investigation, however brief, is important to try to understand the circumstance-not to try and tell the employee whether they are fatigued or not. A learning culture is best adopted under these circumstances.
- Does my FRMS need to specify limitations for duty and flight times?
Yes. It must document limits for managing transient and cumulative fatigue, such as flight times, flight-duty periods, duty periods and minimum off-duty periods. It is not acceptable to rely on bio-mathematical analyses or fitness-for-duty tools as a means of determining whether an individual pilot can fly or not.
- How long does the approval process take?
The exact timeframe is completely dependent on the complexity of your operation.
Read more information about the FRMS development and approval process on the ‘What steps do I take’ for Appendix 7 page.
- How much does an FRMS cost?
This depends upon the complexity of your operation and the quality of your preparedness. Some operators may wish to involve human performance specialists in developing the FRMS. This would add to the cost of FRMS development.
Transitioning operators seeking FRMS approval to continue existing operations on a ‘like for like’ basis will not be charged application and approval fees. However, any variation of scope requested during transition would incur fees as per the Civil Aviation (Fees) Regulation 1995.
New operators will be charged applicable fees as per the Civil Aviation (Fees) Regulation 1995.
If fees are applicable to your FRMS application, all work will be charged by CASA at the normal hourly rate and an estimate will be provided before proceeding.
- What can I expect during a CASA audit of my FRMS?
The audit team may consist of CASA Flying Operations and Safety System Inspectors and possibly also human factors staff. All documents referring to your FRMS will need to be available to the audit team. For example, CASA staff will ask questions about how risks are managed and about investigative processes. We may attend or sample the FRMS training that you provide to your staff. Pilots may also have a short interview with an audit team member. We place significant emphasis on the safety assurance processes in your FRMS, as these processes (when effective) ensure the ongoing health of the system and its continual improvement.
- We already have an FRMS. Does this mean we automatically get an approval?
No. Some operators currently operate under an exemption from the old CAO 48 via a safety case based on a fatigue management system (FMS). FMS is also commonly referred to as FRMS under the old fatigue rules (CAO 48). There are key differences between the old FMS and the new FRMS-for example, the old FMS and the new FRMS are assessed to different standards.
All operators wishing to obtain an approval for an FRMS must go through the same process as a new applicant. The process for mature operators with a compliant history and only minor items in the gap analysis may be more streamlined, but it is important for all industry participants to understand the difference between prior approval criteria and what is expected under the new system.
Find out more about how to develop a fatigue risk management system on the Appendix 7 page, learn about the differences between an FMS and FRMS, and access tools and resources to assist you implement an FRMS.
- Will this mean another manual? Won't there be parallel processes with my Safety Management System? What about human factors and non-technical skills training?
If an operator has a CASA-approved safety management system, the FRMS must be integrated into the SMS. CASA encourages operators to integrate FRMS as far as possible within existing processes, to avoid duplication of processes.
- Is a bio-mathematical modeling tool required in an FRMS?
No, however operators developing an FRMS must demonstrate predictive hazard identification as part of their fatigue risk management processes. Alternative predictive methods include assessing operational experience gained in similar circumstances by the operator or other operators and data collected on similar types of operations or evidence-based scheduling practices. Refer to the ‘What steps do I take’ for Appendix 7 page for more information.