Many of us look forward to the hour of extra sleep we can enjoy as Daylight Saving Time ends in November. The intent of this ritual is to save energy, but the seemingly subtle change can have a profound impact on our bodies. The switch to Standard Time has been proven to alter daily routines and increase both the frequency and severity of workplace injuries.
One of the main dangers of the switch back to Standard Time is fatigue. The clocks turning back an hour means the sunset is sooner in the evening and the sunrise is earlier in the morning. This difference can affect sleep cycles and the earlier fall of darkness can result in feelings of fatigue in the early evening. It can take several days for your body to adjust, but it will help to get extra sleep the week leading up to and following the end of the time change.
The change in light levels can have a significant impact on driving. This is especially important information for anyone in the transportation industry as well as everyone who drives, bikes or walks to and from work. The morning commute will come with increased light, while the drive home will become darker. Remember these tips during your trip:
- Make sure your windshield is clean and be prepared to use sunglasses and sun visors in the mornings.
- At dusk, turn on your headlights to increase visibility of your surroundings and to help other cars and pedestrians spot you.
- Take extra precautions around pedestrians and bicyclists in the mornings and evenings. The bright light may decrease their visibility and they may not have proper gear for the dark.
- Use extra caution around vehicles when you are biking or walking because drivers may not be able to spot you. Reflective items and lights can help.
- Sleep and eat according to your normal routine. This can help fight fatigue that may occur as the sun sets.
Due to the fact that Daylight Saving Time requires clock changes twice per year, it can also be used as a reminder for other activities around your home and office. Add the following items to your list on the day you change your clock:
- Change out the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Check the gauges on your fire extinguishers to make sure they are properly charged.
- Review your emergency evacuation plan with all members of your household or office.
Many studies have shown that workplace injury rates rise during the week following the beginning or the end of Daylight Saving Time. Following the time change, pay close attention to employee fatigue levels, and schedule additional toolbox talks, job hazard analyses and safety meetings to maintain awareness of workplace hazards.
Source: Texas Mutual Insurance Company