For workers in Philadelphia, the transition to daylight saving time can prove to be a challenge. At least one study shows that workers sleep about 40 minutes less than usual the Sunday night after the clock moves ahead, which means that they are more tired than normal on Monday when they go to work. Changing the time leads to an increase in the number of workplace injuries.
A 2009 study evaluated more than two decades of more than 576,000 mining injuries. Researchers tabulated the number of work-related injuries on a typical Monday and compared those to the Monday after daylight saving time begins. They observed an increase of 3.6 injuries on top of an average of 67 injuries on that particular day. In addition, the injuries were frequently more serious than they were on other Mondays, causing injured employees to miss work for significantly longer periods of time.
When people are tired, they often pay less attention to their surroundings and are more likely to make mistakes. Further data shows that the number of car accidents on the Monday after the start of daylight saving time also increases, but the exact reason for the accidents was not clear since light conditions also changed, a factor not taken into account in the mining study. This is also applies to train workers. One train accident report assessed fatigue and determined that the conductor and the engineer did not respond correctly to signals, which caused three deaths and nearly $6 million in damage. However, the correlating time change in the fall does was not related to any difference in comparable safety data.
A variety of factors can result in a work-related accident, including the time of year when it occurs. Regardless of the cause of a workplace accident, all employees have the ability to file a workers’ compensation claim after suffering an on-the-job injury.
Source: The Atlantic, “Be Careful! Workplace Injuries Spike Following the Switch to Daylight Saving Time“, Rebecca J. Rosen, March 10, 2014