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Daylight saving increases chance of workplace injury

Chirping birds, blooming roses and sunshine may be things many North Carolina residents are looking forward to now that Spring is around the corner. However, Spring also brings with it daylight saving time, the annual ritual of moving the clock one hour forward. Researchers have found that daylight saving time may take more of a toll on our bodies than we realize.

Daylight saving time may affect workers more than those who get to sleep in on Monday after the time changes. If North Carolina residents struggled to wake up and felt tired throughout the day, they should take comfort in the fact that they are not alone. Researchers found that workers slept an average of 40 minutes less than they did on any other day, and this may affect their workplace behavior. Daylight saving time has been found to contribute to workplace injuries and workdays lost due to injuries because an injured employee may be able to file a workers' compensation claim to recoup medical costs and take time off.

Losing sleep time affects worker safety, according to an analysis of statistics from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Switching to daylight saving time causes a 5.7 percent increase in workplace injuries, and nearly 68 percent more work days lost. Most importantly, those who work in risky jobs are more likely to sustain workplace injuries.

Researchers found that attention levels decrease, causing workers to become less alert on the job, affecting their reaction time and ability to prevent injuries. Even workers in non-hazardous jobs are affected because they are unable to concentrate and pay attention to detail. Accuracy is affected, regardless of the nature of the work.

North Carolina residents injured on the job, whether it is after daylight saving time or not, may be able to recover medical costs spent on their treatment through a workers' compensation claim. It is their right to file one, not only to receive compensation, but to also highlight a potentially unsafe working environment.

Source: Zanesville Times Recorder, "Study shows time change affects worker safety," Jim Evans, March 16, 2013.

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