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Daylight saving time causes increase in workplace injuries

Each spring, most people, including California residents, set their clocks ahead one hour. Research based on the U.S. Department of Labor and Mine Safety and Health Administration injury data from 1983 to 2006 suggests that the hour of sleep lost due to daylight saving time could be tied to the 5.7 percent spike in workplace injuries that occurred the day following each daylight saving time change. In addition to a greater number of injuries, researchers say injuries were more severe and caused a loss of nearly 68 percent more workdays.

Daylight saving time caused U.S. workers to get about 40 minutes less sleep than normal, which study authors suggest is enough to cause attention levels to decline. According to the National Sleep Foundation, it takes most people a few days to adjust to the lost hour of sleep.

In order to counteract the effects of daylight saving time and keep their employees safe, employers need to be aware of the correlation between injuries and lost sleep. Study authors suggest implementing additional safety precautions, modifying work schedules or rescheduling hazardous work for later in the week in order to prevent workplace injuries.

In a situation where an individual suffers an injury on the job, they may be entitled to workers' compensation. Although accepting a workers' compensation settlement waives the injured party's right to file a civil lawsuit, the settlement can be used to pay medical bills needed to diagnose and treat the injury, cover rehabilitation costs and provide disability payments while the individual is unable to work. An attorney with experience in personal injury and workers' compensation law may be able to litigate and appeal claims on behalf of the injured party.

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

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