Research shows a rise in workplace accidents and injuries with the arrival of Daylight Savings Time each year. Setting the clock forward leads to workers who are fatigued and sleep-deprived.
The Dangers of Daylight Savings Time
According to two different studies published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, switching to Daylight Savings Time each spring results in a 5.7% increase in workplace accidents and injuries. This equates to a 68% rise in lost workdays due to worker injuries. When clocks jump forward, workers lose an average of 40 minutes of recommended sleep.
Individual sleep needs can vary significantly from one person to another, but health studies show that most adults need an average of seven to nine hours of sleep each night to feel well-rested and alert. Sleep deprivation occurs when a person doesn’t get enough sleep. Symptoms of short-term problems include lack of alertness, decreased energy, impaired cognitive functions, memory loss, increased stress, and drowsiness and fatigue. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to serious health problems including high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and diabetes.
Health experts recommend tips to prevent sleep deprivation when the clock changes. By taking the following steps, drowsiness and fatigue can be reduced.
- Eating an earlier dinner the night before the time change
- Avoiding caffeine after 4 PM
- Reducing alcohol consumption
- Dimming household lighting in the evening
- Increasing exposure to bright light or sunshine in the days following the time change
- Starting the day with a brisk walk before work
When Daylight Savings Time rolls around, setting the clock forward by one hour contributes to sleep deprivation, especially for workers with jobs that pose dangers or require a high level of attention to details. This is why airlines, commercial trucking companies, and similar employers place strict regulations on employee work hours, breaks, and rest periods. Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers see a high number of injury claims each year in high-risk occupations when clocks jump forward. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also cites sleep deprivation as the most likely cause of a 17% rise in traffic accidents on the Monday following the change to Daylight Savings Time.
To prevent a rise in workplace accidents and injury claims handled by Chicago workers compensation lawyers each spring, employers and employees must prepare for Daylight Savings Time and make sure they get adequate sleep to promote job safety.