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May 20, 2016 // Fully Charged Profile: David Buczek

Fully Charged Workgroup: Member Profiles: April 2016: Consultant David Buczek

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Q: Tell us about your background. How did you get into your current career field and job?
A: As a consultant, I have been helping organizations improve operations my whole career, and have been helping the FAA improve alertness within the Air Traffic Organization (ATO) since 2009. I find the whole field of human fatigue fascinating – from brain chemistry and human physiology, to the scientific modeling of fatigue and cognitive performance, to the ways people and organizations can work together to improve alertness in the workplace.

Q: How did you get involved in the Fully Charged Workgroup?
A: There is a need to help both management and employees in the ATO better understand human fatigue and how choices we make at work or at home can impact our alertness. Partnering with communications experts in the FAA, NATCA, and Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS) to create a communications program focused on culture change related to alertness seemed like a great way to get the word out to the field. As part of the ATO Fatigue Risk Management (FRM) Team I was asked to be part of this important effort.

Q: What do you want to see changed or improved in the workplace to mitigate fatigue?
A: We all make decisions every day that impact our alertness. We stay up late to watch a game on TV. We schedule employees for an overtime shift and that impacts their sleep opportunity. We go see our kids play at their school rather than catch a nap before working a midnight shift. My hope is that by providing a continuous flow of information about the importance of sleep and alertness to our health and the safety of the National Airspace System, folks will begin to make different choices that improve the health and alertness of themselves and others.

Q: Of what accomplishment are you most proud, with regards to Fully Charged, the Fatigue Safety Steering Committee, and Fatigue Risk Management?
A: While we have made progress in improving alertness in the ATO, we have a long way to go before we can say that the ATO’s fatigue mitigations meet the specific needs of each facility and operation. But, what makes me confident that we will get there one day is the collaborative way that FAA management, NATCA, and PASS have been working to address fatigue. The ATO Fatigue Safety Steering Committee (FSSC) is made up of representatives from FAA Management, NATCA, and PASS. They provide important field perspectives, oversight, and guidance to the ongoing activities on the ATO FRM Team. This helps to ensure that fatigue mitigations that come out of headquarters are better aligned to the needs of the operation and have the support of everyone involved.

Q: Why is Fully Charged important to the workforce?
A: It is said that in order to break old habits, they need to be replaced with new habits. Our hope is that Fully Charged will provide management and staff with the information they need to consistently make choices that better support alertness both on and off the job.

Q: How do you stay Fully Charged?
A: I stay fully charged by focusing on three key things: my sleep habits and protecting my restorative sleep time, my eating habits and how different nutrition supports both alertness and sleep, and also my overall physical fitness. When all three of these are in balance and working well I am fully charged and ready to take on whatever life throws my way.