Spring Ahead with Injuries
Started during World War I, Daylight Saving Time was implemented to save energy in factories, and was again practiced a few years later during World War II. During non-war years, observing Daylight Saving Time was determined by the government at the local level.
It was not until 1966 that Congress standardized the length of the practice, and in 2007 Daylight Saving Time was extended by four weeks in the hopes of more energy conservation.
While Daylight Saving Time's main purpose is to save energy, it does little to save safety when it starts every year. Studies on the sleep habits of Americans show that workers get about 40 minutes less sleep on the following night, making the Monday after the switch a dangerous day.
Canada's Insurance Corporation of British Columbia found that there was an increase of over 20 percent for automobile accidents over the period of 2005-2009 on the day after Daylight Saving Time takes effect.
A study released in 2009 by Michigan State University shows that worker safety also falls during the time change. Given the less sleep, workplace injuries rise almost 6 percent following the start of Daylight Saving Time. This results in a 2/3 increase in lost work days in that period.
There are many steps businesses can take to help workers adjust. While advising employees to get to bed earlier is the best advice, businesses that have flexible schedules could open up an hour later, helping to ease into the time transition. A trick that helps people wake up all year is to get an early dose of sunshine in the morning. Opening up the blinds and turning on bright lights when you are just waking up helps the body to adjust its sleep/wake cycle.