Study Advises Extra Care for Workers After Time Change

Many people fight sluggishness, low energy and even general unhappiness after the time change to daylight-saving time in March, but did you know that one-hour loss of sleep is clinically associated with a spike in workplace injuries and accidents?

Although most people adjust to the loss of sleep in a few days, a 2009 study published by the Journal of Applied Psychology found that losing just an hour of sleep could pose extra dangers for those in hazardous work environments. That’s because shortened or disrupted sleep patterns can result in decreases in performance, concentration and memory common to people deprived of sleep over a longer time period.

After studying U.S. Department of Labor and Mine Safety and Health Administration injury data from 1983–2006, the authors concluded that compared with other days, more injuries happened on the Monday after daylight-saving time went into effect and the injuries were more severe. The “spring forward” time change resulted in U.S. workers getting 40 minutes less sleep, a 5.7 percent increase in workplace injuries and nearly 68 percent more workdays lost to injuries, according to the study.

“We contend that the springtime change is associated with an increase in the number and severity of workplace accidents, especially for those engaged in jobs requiring a high level of attention to detail,” the authors said in a statement. “Studies have shown that lost sleep causes attention levels to drop off.”

Employers and workers alike should exercise extra caution in the days and weeks following a time change, the authors said. Modifying work schedules, rescheduling hazardous tasks when possible, and implementing extra safety precautions in the days and weeks following the time changes can decrease the risks associated with springing forward.

The lawyers of Stevenson & Murray have long and broad experience representing workers injured on the job. Call us today for a free and no-obligation consultation.

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