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Follow the IMSAFE checklist

All members of a drone operation are expected to be fit for duty and ensure their general well-being is properly taken care of before and during an operation. GLOBHE encourages the use of the IMSAFE checklist to ensure fitness for duty in the field for operators and crew involved in the operation.

IMSAFE checklist

IMSAFE stands for:

- Illness - do you feel well, or have any symptoms or medical reasons to not perform the flight?

- Medication - have you taken any prescription or non-prescription drugs that can alter your ability to remain alert, aware, and think clearly?

- Stress - are you feeling pressured, rushed or under any kind of physical or psychological stress inside/outside of your work duties, that can affect your ability to focus without distractions?

- Alcohol - have you had alcohol in the last 8 hours?

- Fatigue - Are you adequately rested and fit for duty? Did you drink/eat enough to have energy and stay fit throughout the day?

- Emotion - Are you emotionally ok to perform, or are you upset and unable to take important decisions and focus on the task?

The operator must ensure that themselves and their crew members (if any) are fit for duty. If an operator falls ill prior to or during an operation, the flight must stop and can only proceed once the operator is well again unless a safety operator is in place.

GLOBHE has zero tolerance for the use of drugs and alcohol prior to or during operations, alcohol shall not be consumed within 8h before the operation.

It is important to be mentally fit to fly. Any stress or emotional situation that poses a distraction or risk to the work duty should be taken seriously and relayed to GLOBHE at the operator's discretion if it is necessary to delay or reschedule the operation.

It is also important to be physically fit for duty, meaning that you are well-nourished and rested to perform the operation from start to finish. This includes taking into consideration the environmental factors such as heat, cold, elevation, and climate to ensure physical fitness, as well as time spent traveling to the site location, time of day, and complexity of the mission to ensure fatigue is not a risk factor. The general rule is that a working day shall not exceed 10 hours of work, and a sufficient rest period of minimum 8 hours must be given thereafter. Unusually long days or insufficient rest periods are deemed as unsafe practices and are not recommended or part of standard practice unless the circumstances are extraordinary.

The human being is prone to most errors, and while physical and mental fitness is a big factor in overall flight safety, it is also important to ensure that the operator and crew are fit to perform the duties during an operation based on competency and flight currency. GLOBHE will verify that the operator is skilled and competent, in the event that the operator is unsure they must notify GLOBHE so that we can together work on a solution.

The operator should also be aware and able to recognize when automated tasks lead to boredom. Mistakes are commonly made when work duties are carried out in a state of boredom, if an operator recognizes they have reached this stage they must notify GLOBHE so that proper mitigations can be put in place. If an operator is scheduled to do repeated tasks or work on a fixed routine schedule, mitigations must be set in place prior to combat boredom in autonomy.


Margherita Bruscolini
Head of Drones
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