Daylight saving time change may increase workplace injuries
The loss of sleep brought on by the daylight saving time change may increase workplace accidents and injuries, according to researchers.
At 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 10, 2013, most people across the United States set their clocks forward one hour to start daylight saving time (DST), so that evenings have more daylight and mornings have less. Typically, clocks are adjusted forward one hour near the start of spring and are adjusted backward in autumn.
Organizations have developed protocols for dealing with the technological requirements of the time shift, such as adjusting the time in their computer systems and time clocks. However, many employers should be aware of the potential effects on safety caused by the start of DST.
Increase in workplace injuries
The National Sleep Foundation states that it will take most people a few days to adjust to the loss of one hour of sleep. According to a 2009 study published by the Journal of Applied Psychology, losing just an hour of sleep could pose dangerous consequences for those in hazardous work environments.
Using U.S. Department of Labor and Mine Safety and Health Administration data, the study found that the DST switch resulted in U.S. workers getting 40 minutes less sleep, a 5.7% increase in workplace injuries and nearly 68% more workdays lost to injuries.
“We contend that the springtime change is associated with an increase in the number and severity of workplace accidents, especially for those engaged in jobs requiring a high level of attention to detail,” the authors said in a statement. “Studies have shown that lost sleep causes attention levels to drop off.”
Awareness of the increased safety risk may cause employees to exercise extra caution and avoid potentially dangerous accidents and injuries.
The sleep-safety link has led some industries, such as trucking and airlines, to regulate limits on the consecutive hours that truckers can drive or crews can fly without taking a break.
Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM. Follow him on Twitter @SHRMRoy.
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Decision Analyst index slips
Arlington, Texas-based Decision Analyst, a market research firm, reported that its U.S. Economic Index fell from a reading of 101 in January 2013 to 99 in February 2013.
While the overall trend of the Economic Index has been upwards over the past 16 months, suggesting continued economic growth in the United States, the February downturn raises a red flag, especially on the heels of increased Social Security deductions and rising gasoline prices, plus the impact of sequestration, according to the firm. “February could just be a downward blip, or the start of a more serious downturn,” the company wrote. “It will take three or four additional months to know for sure.”
The West South Central Census Division records the highest Economic Index, with a score of 105. The East South Central Census Division has the lowest Economic Index at 95 (see map).
The Index numbers for the Census Divisions are three-month moving averages, to smooth out fluctuations due to smaller sample sizes. The reported Index number averages the current month with the previous two months.
“The U.S. economy could be poised for expansion in 2013, on the other hand, if the price of oil falls below $85 a barrel; if natural gas prices remain below $4 a thousand cubic feet; if Washington, D.C., can address and resolve major budget and spending issues; and if major corporations can climb out of their foxholes and start investing,” said Jerry Thomas, president/CEO of Decision Analyst. “Risks of economic contraction remain high, given all these ‘ifs’ and the developing recession in Europe.”
Russin Lumber adds to outside sales team
Montgomery, N.Y.-based LBM distributor Russin Lumber hired Larry Caron in the position of territory manager for the Eastern Pennsylvania market.
The company’s veteran sales manager Jim Speros will continue to work in the territory, which Russin Lumber believes is “poised to take off” because of the housing recovery.
“We were extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to bring Larry Caron into our team,” said Jordan Russin, VP for the company. “By adding the strong relationships that Larry has to a large territory that Jim Speros has managed so well, we will be bringing our customers a deeper level of support than any other supplier in the market.”
Russin Lumber is a distributor of building materials covering 13 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. The company owns and operates manufacturing and distribution facilities in Montgomery, N.Y.