NIOSH offers tips on keeping workers safe after ‘springing forward’

Agency reminds employers to be aware of higher risk for errors, injuries following time change

Posted March 6, 2019

Sunday, March 10, marks the date we set our clocks ahead, which shifts work times and other scheduled events one hour earlier. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), it takes about one week for the body to adjust to the time change. This can lead to sleep deprivation and an increased risk for mistakes, including vehicle crashes.

NIOSH reminds employers to be aware of the higher risk for errors and injuries following the time change and offers tips to share with employees:

  • Remind workers that several days after the time changes are associated with somewhat higher health and safety risks due to disturbances to circadian rhythms and sleep.
  • It can take one week for the body to adjust sleep times and circadian rhythms to the time change so consider reducing demanding physical and mental tasks as much as possible that week to allow oneself time to adjust.
  • Remind workers to be especially vigilant while driving, at work, and at home to protect themselves since others around them may be sleepier and at risk for making an error that can cause a vehicle crash or other accident.
  • Research found men and people with existing heart disease may be at risk for a heart attack after the time change.
  • Circadian rhythms and sleep are strongly influenced by several factors including timing of exposure to light and darkness, times of eating and exercise, and time of work. One way to help the body adjust is to gradually change the times for sleep, eating, and activity.

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