The National Law Forum

The Blog of the The National Law Review

NIOSH Issues Suggestions to Help Workers Adapt to the Time Change

Spring is in the air and with it comes the time change to account for daylight savings.  Do not forget to set your clocks forward one hour this Sunday, March 13, 2016 or at least be ready for your smart devices to change their time spontaneously.

However, according to NIOSH, the time change can create real risks to workplace health and safety:

It can take about one week for the body to adjust the new times for sleeping, eating, and activity (Harrision, 2013). Until they have adjusted, people can have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking up at the right time. This can lead to sleep deprivation and reduction in performance, increasing the risk for mistakes including vehicle crashes. Workers can experience somewhat higher risks to both their health and safety after the time changes (Harrison, 2013). A study by Kirchberger and colleagues (2015) reported men and persons with heart disease may be at higher risk for a heart attack during the week after the time changes in the Spring and Fall.

Employers are encouraged to remind workers of the upcoming time change and that it can have effects on the mind and body for several days following the change.  NIOSH suggests that employees should consider reducing demanding physical and mental tasks as much as possible the week of the time change to allow oneself time to adjust.  See all of NIOSH’s guidance here.

Copyright Holland & Hart LLP 1995-2016.

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