Losing Sleep Over Daylight Savings Time


Thanks for joining us. In this episode we’re going to take a quick look at Daylight Savings Time and its possible effects on workplace injuries.


Every year on the second Sunday in March, the majority of Canadians and Americans turn their clocks ahead an hour for a much welcomed extra hour of daylight, and in the process they sacrifice precious minutes of sleep. So goes the start of Daylight Saving Time (DST), which continues until the first Sunday in November.


Based on a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics database that tracks how Americans use their time, employees on average get 40 minutes less sleep on the Sunday night of the switch to DST. That loss of sleep may not seem like much but a recent study has found that the Monday following the switch to DST can be particularly dangerous information was analyzed from the U.S. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health database of mining injuries for a 23 year period. The research showed that on the first Monday following DST there were 5.7% more workplace injuries and 67.6% more work days missed due to injuries


This research suggests that less sleep may increase both the number of injuries as well as their severity. And the increased danger isn't just confined to the workplace. The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia also reports a higher driving risk the first Monday after DST. Statistics have shown that on the first Monday of DST, car accidents increased 23%.


Perhaps not surprisingly, people have a much easier time adjusting to the switch back to standard time. The same rates of accident and injury do not occur on the Mondays in November when people gain an hour.


So, as the second Monday in March approaches, pay extra attention to employee schedules, sleep and safety, because as the statistics show, the gains in daylight with DST may come at a human cost.


Here are some tips to ease the effects of the switch to DST:


Rest up: Go to bed earlier to get your usual amount of sleep so you can be well rested and alert.


Defer the dangerous: Schedule particularly hazardous work later in the week (where possible) after employees have had more time to adjust their sleep schedules.


Plan ahead: Give yourself extra time to drive to and from work, especially during the Monday commute, to avoid a potential accident.


And Step up the safety: Take extra safety precautions and assign extra safety monitors on days following the switch to DST to help avoid potential workplace injuries before they occur.


More information on daylight savings and workplace injuries, please visit ccohs.ca and search on “daylight savings” or “fatigue”. Thanks for listening everyone.