Minnesota workers concerned about on-the-job injuries may be interested in the effect that daylight saving time has on work injury statistics. Studies show that the effect is real and offers some suggestions to avoid increased accidents.

According to research by the National Sleep Foundation, the loss of one hour of sleep when clocks move forward for daylight saving time could lead to more workplace injuries. This is because it takes the human body multiple days to adjust to missing sleep. When a worker has a potentially hazardous job, this translates to the potential for an on-the-job injury. The data bears this conclusion out. From 1983 to 2006, there was an increase in work injuries on the day after clocks were set forward. Employees overall got 40 minutes less sleep and the work injury rate was 5.7 percent higher than on other days. The injuries were more serious, as well, leading to 68 more workdays missed.

Barring a change in the daylight saving time system, some simple adjustments in the workplace could help to avoid this increased risk. The researchers suggest that employers change the hazardous work that must be performed post-change to later in that week in order to allow the workers to adjust to the new sleep pattern. Additionally, a later start time on the days following the time change could avoid the loss of sleep. The start time could gradually shift back to normal after a few days.

When a work accident affects an injured employee’s ability to return to his or her job, an attorney may be able to provide assistance. The attorney can help the injured client file and pursue a workers’ compensation claim for benefits. This could lead to compensation for lost wages and the costs of required medical treatment.

Source: Society for Human Resource Management, “Workplace Injuries Spike After Daylight Saving Time Change”, Roy Maurer, March 6, 2015