Work Injuries During Spring

Work Injuries During Spring

While it’s welcome news for many that Daylight Saving Time may soon be permanent thanks to the Sunshine Protection Act, it’s frustrating if you’re already one of the many sleep-deprived workers to have suffered an on-the-job accident after the time change.

Each year, as our clocks spring forward an hour, workplace injuries spike, car crashes increase and even the severity of injuries goes up. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, coal miners, for example, experienced about 63 on-the-job injuries industry-wide on an average Monday. The first Monday after the Daylight Saving Time change, however, saw that number rise 5.7 percent.

Because it’s harder to push yourself to go to bed an hour early in anticipation of the spring time change, many folks simply lose close to an hour’s worth of sleep headed into the week. While an hour may not sound like much, that fatigue has real consequences on the job, especially when the work requires intense focus or physical exertion. If workers are already in a field with a low margin of error and a high risk for injury, like farming, manufacturing, construction or mining, the results can be serious.

Why Do Workers Have More Injuries After The Time Change?

It takes the body about a week after a time change to catch up to the new schedule. Our circadian rhythms aren’t meant to turn on a dime, explaining why it’s such a struggle to wake in the days after the Daylight Saving Time change.

Workers who are fatigued may be less likely to follow safety protocols or may miss safeguards. There’s also some suggestion that younger workers, who are more likely to be night owls, have a harder time with the Daylight Saving Time change than their older counterparts, according to the CDC.

In addition to their own fatigue, healthcare workers experience an increased workload and an added level of job complexity. As injuries spike from on-the-job accidents and car crashes, more people require urgent or emergency treatment. There’s also a slight bump in the rate of heart attacks and strokes, according to WebMD. Even for those not managing critical care, the time change often requires adjustments to medical documentation and dosing schedules, increasing the chances for a medical error to occur.

Adjusting After The Time Change

Even if the twice-annual time change ends in fall of 2023, it’s still smart to take time changes in stride until then, preparing the best we can in advance.

For the Standard Time change in November, this might be less of a sleep adjustment and more a change in driving habits—taking appropriate precautions as the nights get darker earlier. But for Daylight Saving Time, it’s helpful to subtly shake up bedtime and rising routines for up to three days before the change goes into effect.

After the time shift, acknowledge the potential for risk by limiting dangerous or demanding activities as much as possible. Remember that coworkers and other drivers on the road are also likely fatigued. If you already have heart disease, be aware that there’s an increased risk of having a heart attack in the days after the time change.

The Sunshine Protection Act may soon make Standard Time a thing of the past (along with our twice-annual clock change). Until then, we can be aware of the challenges our bodies face with even slight changes to our routines and schedules.

Contact A Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Atlanta

If you’ve been hurt on the job, it’s important to speak with an experienced workers’ comp attorney. Contact the Law Offices of Laura Lanzisera today for a free consultation, or give us a call at 404-991-5097.

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