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Daylight saving time increases risks at the workplace

Workers in Colorado may have been tired after the clocks were set forward one hour for daylight saving time on March 8, and it has been found that the loss of an hour of sleep could lead to increased injuries in the workplace following this event. Employers and employees should be aware of the safety concerns following the time change in order to avoid workplace accidents.

In most states, clocks are set one hour ahead at the start of daylight saving time so that there is more daylight during the spring and summer seasons, and the loss of an hour means that most people get less sleep around this time. The National Sleep Foundation found that adjusting to losing an hour of sleep usually takes people a few days, and some data indicates that more workplace injuries occur the Monday after the change.

A study conducted using U.S. Department of Labor and Mine Safety and Health Administration data from 1983 to 2006 showed that more injuries occurred after DST in the spring and that the injuries were more serious than compared to injuries on other days. There was a 68 percent increase in workdays lost due to injuries and a 5.7 percent rise in on the job injuries, and more injuries may have occurred on the Monday after the change because workers received around 40 minutes less sleep.

Knowing that workers are at an increased risk for injuries after losing sleep might allow companies to implement more safety measures around daylight saving time, but employees are generally entitled to workers'compensation regardless of why an accident occurs and whether it is preventable or not. This means an employee should consider filing a claim for medical benefits regardless of fault, and one may wish to speak with an attorney to learn about the available options after a workplace injury occurs.

Source: Society for Human Resource Management, "Workplace Injuries Spike After Daylight Saving Time Change", Roy Mauer, March 6, 2015

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