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Daylight Saving Time Can Negatively Impact Workplace Safety

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Daylight Saving Time begins every Spring in most of North America when we advance our clocks forward by one hour.

When Daylight Saving Time starts workers will wake one hour earlier than normal, begin and complete daily work routines earlier and will have an extra hour of daylight at the end of the workday.

This also means that there will be one less hour of daylight at the start of each workday and the time change may cause an abrupt adjustment to waking, driving or starting work in the dark.

In the Spring clocks moved forward when Daylight Saving Time starts. In the Fall, at the end of Daylight Saving Time, the clocks move back and everyone enjoys one extra hour.

Daylight Saving Time Means Spring Forward

When Daylight Saving Time begins we have basically lost an hour of time. Even though losing only one hour doesn’t seem like much, it can cause quite a disruption in our schedules and affect our mental and physical health for a few days until our bodies adjust.

The time change can cause people to become anxious, stressed, or fatigued and these feelings have the potential to affect our own safety and the safety of those around us, at home, on the job or while on the road. Be patient, and allow yourself time to adjust.

Rushing to Get to Work
  • When clocks spring forward this may cause workers to be late to work. Focus on staying calm to avoid feeling rushed.
  • Work Safe. Spend extra time evaluating each work task carefully.
  • Avoid operating heavy equipment, machinery, or power tools while drowsy. Your reaction time is decreased when you are fatigued!
  • Understand that other people may not adjust the same way as you. If you observe another worker fatigued, stressed, or anxious encourage them to stop the task and take a break.
Feeling Fatigued on the Job

Workplace injuries increase when workers’ reaction time and awareness are decreased from being fatigued. Adjust your sleep with the upcoming time change to help your body sync with the time difference.

Consider gradually adjusting your sleep schedule in the days leading up to the time change. By going to bed 10-15 minutes earlier every night your body has more time to adjust.

Sleeping at Work

On the evening of the time change adjust your clocks forward by one hour and then go to bed at your normal bedtime.

If you don’t have to work on Sunday, use that day to adjust your daily routines to the new schedule.

Taking the time to prepare yourself mentally and physically before the time change will reduce your feelings of stress and fatigue. Encourage your family to do the same.

Technicians Napping on the Job

Take into consideration your daily commute and the other drivers on the road that may be rushed or stressed because of the time change.

For a while after daylight saving time starts, the morning hours may be darker which may affect your drive to school or to work.

As you, and other drivers on the road, are adjusting to the darker morning conditions, take extra care while driving.

Drowsy Driving
  • Give yourself extra time so you don’t feel like you have to speed on your morning commute.
  • Practice extra patience to avoid road rage.
  • Don’t eat breakfast, put on make-up or do other tasks to finish getting ready while you are driving.
  • Fatigue slows down your reaction time on the road so avoid drowsy driving.
  • Pay attention to school zone speed limits.
  • Don’t use your cell phone while driving.
Distracted Driving

Avoid being late which can cause you to rush. Do as many tasks as you can the day before so the first morning you have to go to work after the time change is as calm as possible.

  • Prepare breakfast the night before so you can eat before you leave the house or so that you can easily grab it to take to work.
  • If you normally pack your lunch, prepare it the day before so it’s ready to go in the morning.
  • Finish laundry ahead of time and have your clothes laid out.
  • Set your clocks forward 1 hour before you go to sleep the night before the change so you aren’t confused when you wake up.
  • Set your alarm to allow yourself plenty of time to adjust in the morning.
  • If you usually have a morning cup of coffee, make sure you have coffee on hand or you have a plan to grab a cup on the way that won’t leave you even more rushed in the morning.
  • If you are responsible for others in the morning, especially young children, make sure their clothes are ready, alarms are set and you allow yourself extra time and patience to guide them through the morning routine an hour earlier than normal.
Spring Forward, Don't Forget to Reset Your Clocks

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