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Daylight saving time change causes more to be injured on the job

According to research, an increased number of workplace injuries occur on the day following the change to daylight saving time (DST). One would not expect that 40 minutes less sleep could have such an adverse effect on workers, but The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) says it can be detrimental to workers whose occupations require high levels of concentration. Colorado workers and employers may be interested to learn that data studied by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Mine Safety and Health Administration indicates an increase of 5.7 percent in incidents in which workers are injured on the job on the day after time changes.

In early March, people from all walks of life advanced their watches and clocks by one hour. The NSF says that the adjusting period to the loss of sleep during the night when the switch took place can take several days. Research revealed that workplace injuries on the day following the time change were also more severe than at other times.

The study's authors suggest that the work schedules of those in hazardous occupations be adjusted to allow for their vulnerability at this time. Jobs that require high levels of attention should be moved to the end of the week. Workers and employers should be made aware of the danger during the first week following the start of DST, and the number of incidents could be reduced if additional safety precautions are implemented.

Colorado workers who are injured on the job have the right to pursue workers' compensation benefits regardless of the cause of their accidents. In addition to compensating injured workers for their medical expenses and lost income, those who suffer catastrophic injuries that render them disabled may be awarded additional compensation. If a worker suffers an injury that prevents him or her from returning to his or her regular job, workers' compensation may also offer retraining to enable a worker to do a different job.

Source: shrm.org, "Workplace Injuries Spike After Daylight Saving Time Change", Roy Maurer, March 6, 2015

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