In a study of some interest to New York construction accident lawyers, two doctoral students at Michigan State University have conducted research that shows a 5.7 percent jump in the rate of workplace injuries in the days immediately following the March switch to Daylight Savings Time, Occupational Health & Safety reports.
The industry and organizational psychology students, Christopher Barnes and David Wagner, designed two separate studies to examine the issue, both of which will be published in the September issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology. They both found the loss of about 40 minutes of sleep to be responsible for the jump in accidents.
The students also found what every good New York construction accident attorney already knows: Workers performing complex tasks that require a high level of attention, as much construction work does, are at greater risk than other workers.
As Mr. Barnes says, “[Losing one hour of sleep can make a difference], especially for those engaged in jobs requiring a high level of attention to detail. Studies have shown that lost sleep causes attention levels to drop off.”
A 5.7 percent increase in accidents over a short period is a considerable jump that really ought to be avoided. Just as we take special precautions in the event of inclement weather or dangerous diseases, we can make accommodations for Daylight Savings Time.
Employers can stress to their employees the importance of shifting their sleep schedules promptly after they “lose an hour”. Even better, employers could let their workers with high-risk jobs start work an hour or 40 minutes late for one or two days following the Daylight Savings Time switch.
It would be a small change that could save hundreds of people all the pain and grief that follows a construction accident.