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Daylight savings time affects workplace safety

The loss of 40 minutes to an hour of sleep on the night of daylight saving time can have an impact on employees' ability to stay safe at work. In 2015, daylight saving time fell on March 8 at 2 a.m. Although there are no numbers available on daylight saving time related workplace injuries for 2015, data from previous years shows that there is a noticeable increase in workplace accidents in New Jersey and across the United States during the days following daylight saving time.

Statistics collected on injuries from 1983 to 2006 from U.S. Department of Labor and Mine Safety and Health Administration show that around daylight saving time, the number of workplace injuries went up by 5.7 percent. The number of days missed because of injuries also increases around this time of the year.

Employees working in more hazardous jobs are especially at risk for injuries during daylight saving time. People who get less sleep are less likely to be able to concentrate, which can be dangerous if their jobs require a high attention to detail; a study by the National Sleep Foundation in 2009 found that getting less sleep, even just an hour, can make a difference in workers' ability to be safe on the job. Workplaces can account for daylight saving time by making sure workers are not doing dangerous jobs on the days immediately after daylight saving time.

New Jersey operates under a "no fault" rule for workers' compensation, meaning that employers can seek compensation for workplace injuries even if they were partially or fully at fault. Under the state's workplace compensation law, employees are entitled to temporary or permanent benefits, depending on the severity of their injuries. They need to make sure to go through important steps, such as reporting injuries to their supervisors and insurance companies, right after the incidents.

Source: State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, "Injured Workers," 2015

Source: SHRM, "Workplace Injuries Spike After Daylight Saving Time Change," Roy Maurer, March 6, 2015

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