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Spring is around the corner, which means that daylight saving time (DST) is here. DST is often a good sign of longer days ahead, but the time change takes a toll on many people. The effects of the time change, like fatigue, often leads to more work accidents and work injuries. Workplace injuries can lead to financial losses, including expensive medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses. A victim of a work-related injury should contact a lawyer for legal counsel.
In spring, those across the United States are asked to move their clocks forward an hour so that the evenings have more daylight and the mornings have less daylight. In the process of doing this, people are missing an hour of sleep. Although losing an hour of sleep may not seem like much, studies show that it can severely affect jobs that require alertness and focus.
A study completed by two doctoral candidates at Michigan State University found that when the clocks were set back an hour, individuals lost an average of 40 minutes of sleep. This ultimately led to a nearly six percent increase in work-related injuries and 68 percent more lost work days. The same doctoral candidates also found that there was no increase in workplace accidents in November, despite there being a time change.
DST does not only affects the likelihood of a workplace injury, the time change also leads to an increase in car accidents. According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatigue resulting from DST leads to a 17 percent increase in motor vehicle accidents. While fatigue is the main reason for this influx, the lack of light in the early morning also contributes to these rates.
Since the clock is moved forward, there is less daylight in the morning. Daylight is a cue for the body to stop producing melatonin, which is a chemical that causes someone to feel tired. Since there is less daylight in the morning, there is a higher likelihood that a driver will drive fatigued. Less light also means that visibility is impacted, which could lead to an accident.
Not all accidents are preventable, but employers and employees can both take steps to prevent the effects of DST. Since DST primarily affects an individual’s energy levels, many of the tips help to prevent fatigue:
Adjust the Clock Early: One easy tip that everyone can follow is to set the clocks back early. If an individual sets their clock back early during the day instead of waiting until night, they are more inclined to go to sleep an hour earlier to stay on schedule. Since this means they will sleep an hour earlier than normal, they will not miss out on their normal amount of sleep.
Plan Ahead: One tip that employers can do to advocate for safety is to reschedule hazardous work that is planned for the week for another time. Since employees are losing an hour of sleep, they are likely not as detail-oriented as they should be, which could lead to mistakes. When an employer reschedules any dangerous tasks for later in the week, they are letting their workers get adjusted to their new sleep schedules.
Go Outside: Another tip to avoid the harmful effects of DST is to get as much daylight in the morning as possible. Since seeing light triggers the body to stop releasing melatonin, it can lead to fewer car and workplace accidents. Those who drive for a living should also take this into consideration and take breaks when necessary. Employers can also advocate for safety by encouraging drivers to take breaks if they are feeling more tired than usual.
Stay Cautious: The final tip is to stay cautious while driving. Many people fail to realize how accident rates are affected by DST. Drivers should stay aware of their surroundings and try to avoid getting in unnecessary traffic.
An employee with a work-related injury should contact a lawyer. Injured employees are likely eligible for Workers’ Compensation. These benefits help cover any expenses related to the injury, including medical bills and lost wages. A lawyer can walk a victim through this legal process and ensure that they receive their entitled benefits.
The time change can lead to more accidents and injuries. If you have a work injury, you should contact a Delaware work accident lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow. A workplace injury can lead to medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses, but a lawyer can help you get compensation. Call 302-427-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation. We have offices in Wilmington, Bear, and Milford, Delaware, and we serve clients throughout Middletown, Dover, Milford, Lewes, Rehoboth, Elsmere, and Seaford.