According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), there is plenty of research to suggest that the week after the Sunday in March when we move the clocks ahead for Daylight Saving Time (DST) can be a very dangerous time for Canada’s workforce.
Canadians have once again turned their clocks ahead for an extra hour of daylight, but by doing so they have lost some precious sleep. According to an analysis of US Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that workers tend to get 40 minutes less sleep the night after the switch to DST. While that may not seem like a lot, a Michigan State University research study of mining injuries from 1983-2006 showed a 5.7% increase in workplace injuries and 67.6% increase in days missed the day after the time change. That would suggest that the loss of sleep may result in an increase in both the number and severity of injuries.
The problem may not be limited to workplace injuries. According to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), an analysis of data from 2005-2009 show the number of car accidents also increased by nearly 23% after the time change. One other factor supporting this data is research that shows accident and workplace injury numbers don’t increase significantly in November, when clocks are moved back, and they gain an extra hour of sleep.
As always, CCOHS has a few tips to alleviate this problem next year. First, you should advise workers to go to bed earlier. They also recommend moving dangerous work to a later part of the week, if possible, so that workers are better rested. In addition to keeping an extra keen eye on safety for the week following the switch.