‘Springing forward’ can leave workers open to injuries

It’s not overstating things to say that this winter in New York has been one of the rougher ones in recent memory. However, it’s at last true that spring is around the corner. The official end of winter is next week, while another marker of the change of seasons, daylight saving time, took effect this past weekend.

Daylight saving time can throw off our internal clocks when we have to spring forward or fall back one hour. In November, when we revert to standard time, we gain an hour of sleep. However, we lose that hour in March — often leaving people short of needed rest.

One hour of sleep might not seem like a lot. However, it might be enough to lead to an increase in workplace accidents, presumably from workers being more drowsy than normal. Two psychologists investigated reports of injuries suffered by workers in U.S. mines between 1983 and 2006. Their findings may not be surprising to many people who have had to go to work on short rest.

According to the researchers, there were more accidents in the mines on the Monday after the time change took effect; not only that, but the injuries that people suffered were more severe. Surveys have found that people get an average of about 40 minutes less of sleep on the first full night of daylight time, on Sunday night. Tellingly, there was no difference in worker injuries after daylight time ends and the night is one hour longer.

Regardless of what causes a workplace accident, injured workers often are eligible to receive workers’ compensation to help them recover. An experienced personal injury attorney can aid people who find themselves in this situation.

Source: Scientific American, “Workplace Injuries May Rise Right after Daylight Saving Time,” Steve Mirsky, March 9, 2014

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