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Daylight savings time may cause workplace accidents

Something you may not have thought about is the way daylight savings time can affect you at work. Workplace accidents may actually happen more often during the switch to a new time zone, even though it's done to allow more light during the day and longer work hours. According to the news from March 10, Americans tend to lose around 40 minutes of sleep over the spring forward change, as they push clocks ahead one hour, and that means they could be sleep deprived and have more trouble at work.

The switch to daylight savings time has serious consequences according one report. A 2009 study from the Journal of Applied Psychology says that the average Monday resulted in around 63 injuries on the job between 1983 and 2006. The Monday after daylight savings time is different, though; that Monday is allegedly responsible for around 3.6 extra injuries, which is around a 5.7 percent increase.

The number of days missed because of an injury on the Monday following DST also rose by 7.6 percent, showing that the injuries may also be more severe. This could be caused by fatigue, which previous research has also considered. In a study from 2004, which included 400 U.S. Army motor vehicle collisions, there was a direct correlation found between the driver found at fault and a lack of sleep.

In 2008, a National Transportation and Safety Board report claimed that train crews who were fatigued did not respond to wayside signals appropriately. That led to three deaths and a shocking $5.85 million in damages.

When gaining an hour in the fall, it was found that people didn't struggle with sleep and workplace safety in the same way. In fact, people gained just 12 extra minutes of sleep, according to the news, and that wasn't enough to make any difference in workplace safety.

Workers who are injured on the job are eligible for workers' compensation. Workers' compensation claims, however, can be time-consuming and complex, and are better suited to be handled by an attorney who is well versed in the requirements and supporting evidence needed.

The Atlantic, "Be Careful! Workplace Injuries Spike Following the Switch to Daylight Saving Time" Rebecca J. Rosen, Mar. 10, 2014

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