Some Days Are Safer Than Others
We’ve just passed the yearly ‘hour-ahead’ for March Daylights Savings Time (DST). That hour-change in our day always seems to create havoc for our safety and this year was no different, in fact, the Monday following the time-change seemed to be more stressful than ever. It leads us to wonder how Daylight Savings Time affects the workplace; and taking that idea on-step further, what are the most dangerous days of the work year? Read on and find out.
The Monday After March Daylight Savings Time
Welcome to the most dangerous Monday of the year. The first workday following the March time-change has proven to be hazardous to your safety. Statistics tell us there were 6 percent more workplace injuries on the Monday following the time change, and a 68 percent increase of injury over other workdays in the year. The culprit is sleep, or the lack thereof, as we create what is known as circadian rhythm distrubances and acute minor sleep deprivation.
Tying this sleep-deprivation to car accidents on the Monday following DST, the publication Sleep Medicine states that there is a ‘significant increase’ in fatal car accidents on that day (1999 edition of Sleep Medicine). The publication goes on further to suggest that public health educators should consider issuing warnings about the effects of the hour-ahead shift and our routine behaviours during the workday.
Unfortunately, the road isn’t the only challenge. The jobsite has proven to be equally problematic for tired workers braving the Monday following DST. According to the Journal of Applied Psychology, workers sustain more injuries and of greater severity on the Monday following DST due to a lack of sleep where workers slept an average of 40 minutes less than other days in the night(s) prior to the Monday back in the office.
Indeed, it is a challenge. As a safety professional, how do you prepare your workplace for the Monday following daylight savings time? “The key is awareness of the phenomenon, and preparing employees for the day ahead through verbal and/or visual reminders on the job site,” says Julie Tilley, CRSP safety professional with Workforce Compliance Safety. “It’s an event you can anticipate and therefore be ready for in order to minimize the impact of DST on the Monday workday.”
The key is awareness of the phenomenon, and preparing employees for the day ahead through verbal and/or visual reminders on the job site.