Medical Matters

Medical Matters

Medical Matters are of paramount importance in air traffic control. It is well known that controllers are medically screened prior to beginning an ATC career in accordance with international medical requirements given in ICAO Annex 1, and as prescribed by national regualtion.

The controller occupation is known to be stressful, conducted as shift-work and with a considerable amount of electronic equipment at the working positions. Stress and shift-work are known to have adverse effect on health in a general way. Radiation from electronic equipment has a biological effect, but any possible health consequences from this are not yet scientifically established.

Furthermore, Fatigue Risk Management Systems (FRMS) are becomming an integral part of any ATS system. It is well documented that some factors can affect human performance, such as: motivation, personality and attitudes, communication. But fatigue has definitely a prominent role to play this list of factors, as highlighted by the provisions on the management of fatigue contained in Amendment 50B of ICAO Annex 11 – Air Traffic Services; those provisions have an applicability date of November 5, 2020. (ICAO, 2018)

These are just a few examples that demonstrates the importance of medical matters in ATC.



Besides the many medical aspects having specific effects on air traffic control, there is also a number of challenges related to the link that exist between an ATCO licence and the medical certification that allows the controller to exercise the privileges of its licence. For instance, medical matters require in-depth studies and research in order to obtain answers to the following questions:

  • Observe the most common medical reasons why controllers lose their licences;
  • Research possibilities for using medication to “control” the effects of illness to the extent that a license can be held or regained;
  • Search for information on possible links between working environment and illness;
  • Investigations into possibly dangerous working environments.


What falls under Medical Matters?

As said previously, the domain of Medical Matters is vast. As regards air traffic control, it encompasses inter alia the following aspects:

  • Ocular diseases and ocular fatigue;
  • Substance abuse in ATC;
  • HIV and AIDS in air traffic control;
  • Legal rights of pregnant ATCOs;
  • Colour vision and air traffic control;
  • Cognitive processes;
  • Mental fitness;
  • Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM);
  • Effects of night shifts;
  • Medication and air traffic control;
  • Fatigue Risk Management Systems (FRMS);
  • Ageing controllers;
  • Hypoxia-related issues;
  • ATCOs with disabilities;
  • Electromagnetic hypersensitivity;
  • Sleep apnea and obesity.

For more information, visit one of the following WIKIFATCA pages:

Medical Matters


Last Update: May 30, 2020  

October 27, 2019   73   superman    WIKI  

Comments are closed.

  • Search Knowledgebase