Watch the Clock

On Sunday, Americans will set their clocks back one hour as we switch from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time. While we all enjoy having an extra hour of sleep, the switch to Standard Time can increase the risk of workplace injuries. Here are a few tips for a smooth, injury-free transition.

See the light
When the clocks “fall back,” it means that sunrise and sunset are each one hour earlier. Expect to have more light for morning tasks and less light for afternoon and evening tasks. Light levels may not seem like a big deal, but they impact our environment’s visibility levels and our body’s sleep cycles.

Travel smart
Visibility is particularly important for motorists. If you will be driving, walking or working near roadways, be prepared for the change in light levels in November. Keep your windshield clean, use your sun visor, and wear sunglasses as necessary during morning trips.

For trips at the end of the day, remember to turn your headlights on at dusk and regularly scan the sides of the road for pedestrians and animals. Use extra caution on the road during the first few days of Standard Time because many drivers will not take these precautions.

Sleep well
Changes in daylight hours impact more than our driving. They also impact our bodies’ sleep cycles. Our brains constantly monitor the level of natural light in our environment. When it starts to get dark outside, our bodies begin preparing for sleep. We experience this preparation as a feeling of fatigue or sluggishness.

Once Standard Time starts, our bodies will naturally begin preparing for sleep one hour earlier in the day. To prepare for the change, catch up on your sleep during the week leading up to the switch to Standard Time. Plan to sleep more during the week after the time change to minimize its effects. Also, avoid hazardous activities after dusk whenever possible.

Protect your family
Daylight Saving Time requires everyone to reset their clocks twice per year. Many home safety activities should also be performed twice per year. When you reset your clocks, remember to also:

  • Replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Check the gauge of home fire extinguishers
  • Review your home evacuation plan with everyone in your household

Attn. employers
Each year, workplace injury rates spike during the week following the beginning or end of Daylight Saving Time. Pay close attention to employee fatigue levels, and schedule additional job hazard analyses and safety meetings to maintain awareness of workplace hazards.

 

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