Over the weekend, Americans across the country set their clocks an hour forward for Daylight Saving Time. While many Americans relish the extra hour of daylight in the spring and summer months, it does not come without consequence. Research has shown that the switch to Daylight Saving Time can actually lead to an increase in the number of workplace injuries.
Study Shows Link Between Workplace Injuries & Daylight Saving Time
In 2009, a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology analyzed over 500,000 mining injuries between 1983 and 2006. The study compared the number of reported injuries to see if a trend could be found regarding when injuries were most likely to occur. What the researchers found was that workplace injuries increased by over 5% on the Monday following the switch to Daylight Saving Time. Additionally, the study found that workers missed 67% more days due to injuries suffered just after Daylight Saving Time than compared to injuries suffered at other points in the year. This suggests that not only does the number of workplace injuries increase, but so does the severity of them.
Why Does Daylight Saving Time Lead to More Injuries?
It can take a while for a person’s internal clock to adjust to the switch to Daylight Saving Time. For example, if a person normally goes to bed at 10pm, they may not get tired enough to fall asleep until the clock strikes 11pm. As a result, the average American gets about 40 minutes less sleep in the days following Daylight Saving Time while their internal clock is still adjusting.
Numerous studies have shown that a lack of sleep can cause workplace injuries. Workers who are fatigued or less attentive than normal due to sleep deprivation are more likely to make errors or use poor judgment that can lead to an accident. In fact, a 2012 study conducted by the Harvard Medical School found that a lack of sleep contributed to over 274,000 workplace injuries a year.
Preventing Work Injuries Caused By Lack of Sleep
Knowing that the number and severity of workplace injuries increases immediately following Daylight Saving Time, there are a number of things companies can do to help protect its employees. One idea is to gradually shift back the start time of the workday in 15 minute intervals to allow workers more time to adjust to the changing sleep pattern. Failing that, companies can also schedule the most dangerous tasks later in the workweek once workers have caught up on their sleep.
Consulting with a Workplace Injury Attorney
If you have been injured at work, you may be entitled to compensation. Employers are required to take reasonable steps to ensure a safe working environment and they could be held liable if they failed to do so. At Arnold & Itkin, we have helped injured workers across the country receive the compensation they deserve. Contact our work injury attorneys today for a free consultation.