Conestoga news

January 17, 2023 9:31 AM

CISWP research and development project leads to publication of new national standard

The Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness & Performance (CISWP) at Conestoga College led a multi-year research and development project to inform the development of a new National Standard of Canada, CSA Z1615:22, First responder fatigue risk management system.

The new evidence-informed standard sets out requirements and provides guidance to support first responder organizations mitigate the risk of harm if fatigue is present by identifying hazards and assessing and controlling risks. The standard and its requirements were developed to address any type of risk related to fatigue and can be applied to both sleep-related and task-related fatigue.

“We know that first responders are at high risk of suffering the effects of fatigue which can not only impact their own personal health and safety, but also that of their co-workers and the public they serve,” said Kay Penn, director, Standards, Health and Safety, CSA Group. “We are very pleased to announce the publication of the CSA Z1615 Standard, First Responder Fatigue Risk Management, which is aimed at improving first responder health and wellness by reducing the exposure to fatigue-related risks using a strategic and coordinated approach.” 

The CSA Group standard was developed by a multi-stakeholder technical subcommittee led by Technical Committee chair, Dr. Amin Yazdani, CISWP executive director, and vice-chair, Chief Pierre Poirier, of the Ottawa Paramedic Service representing the Paramedic Association of Canada.

Development of the standard was funded by the Defense Research and Development Canada and built on the expertise and experience of all project contributors representing firefighters, police officers and paramedics across the country.

Drs. Yazdani and Marcus Yung led CISWP’s research and development project.

“Research across policing, firefighting and paramedic/emergency medical services indicates that burnout, cognitive fatigue and physical fatigue were associated with adverse health and performance effects,” said Dr. Yazdani. “However, there were many differences between occupations that need to be accounted for, highlighting the importance of managing fatigue as a multi-dimensional and multi-faceted factor leading to short and longer-term health and performance outcomes.”

Yazdani also noted that first responders are at high risk of suffering decrements in neurocognitive performance related to fatigue. Such performance decrements endanger the personal health and safety of these responders, but also the health and safety of their fellow responders and the public they serve. For these reasons, first responders constitute an occupational group that is particularly vulnerable to the effects of fatigue. Managing responder fatigue and mitigating its associated health and safety risks are essential to protect first responder and public health and safety.

“The new National Standard of Canada on First Responder Workplace Fatigue Risk Management will be used across Canada to help improve first responder health and wellness,” added Chief Poirier.” 

The new standard can be found at: .

CISWP’s related research papers are also available online:

The Canadian Institute for Safety, Wellness & Performance adopts a transdisciplinary and collaborative approach to build capacity for productive and sustainable work. Its mission is to improve the safety, wellness and performance of the Canadian workforce by generating knowledge, transferring research to practice, and strengthening workforce development - all in collaboration with stakeholders.