Study Links Daylight Savings Time to Workplace Injuries

March 12, 2012
By Charles E. Lavis on March 12, 2012 9:15 AM |

Daylight Savings Time, the practice of temporarily advancing clocks during the summertime so that evenings have more daylight and mornings have less, has been observed since 1895. The practice is the source of much annual anticipation for individuals eager to benefit from longer days and more day lit hours.

A study from the American Psychological Association, however, suggests "springing forward" from Standard Time to Daylight Savings Time may have some unintended consequences such as disrupted sleep patterns and an increased risk for workplace injury.

According to the study's authors, the hour of sleep lost when Americans set their clocks an hour ahead each spring results in higher rates of workplace accidents caused by sleep loss. The study analyzed accident and time use data from the Mine Safety and Health Administration and Bureau of Labor Statistics, concluding that the average person sleeps about 40 minutes less the Sunday night of the time switch resulting in approximately 3.6 more work injuries the following Monday in hazardous occupations such as mining and construction.

Besides increased risk for work injury, "springing forward" has also been linked to increased risk for auto accidents on the Monday following the annual time change. A study by the U.S National Highway and Safety Administration found a 17 percent increase in car accidents caused by fatigue resulting from spring Daylight Savings Time.

Drs. Christopher Barnes and David Wagner conducted the study with assistance from organizational behavior doctoral candidates at Michigan State University. Findings have been published in the American Journal of Psychology. Daylight Savings Time this year begins on March 11th at 2:00 a.m. local time.

If you are injured on the job contact your Louisiana workplace injury lawyer.