With clocks springing forward, employees may be unusually tired
- The National Safety Council (NSC) is warning employers that workers might be more tired than usual on Monday morning after losing an hour of sleep due to Daylight Saving Time (DST). Clocks are set to spring forward this weekend for much of the country, and the fatigue that often follows raises concerns over workers' safety.
- According to the new NSC report, Tired at Work: How fatigue affects our bodies, shift workers, emergency responders, medical staff, workers over 40, military personnel and transportation professionals and anyone who works rotating or night shits are at greater risk for circadian misalignment, a condition in which people force themselves to stay awake when their bodies tell them they should be sleeping. The report shows that while sleep deprivation is a major cause of fatal vehicular accidents, the number of crashes rises the Monday after DST.
- In a 2017 NSC survey, 43% of respondents say they don't get enough sleep to handle certain tasks, which jeopardizes their health and safety at work and on the road. The cost to society amounts to $140 billion a year. The NSC recommends that employers look for fatigue in workers, including those who have long commutes, work at night or in the early mornings, or have mentally or physically demanding jobs — especially after this weekend.
Employers need to keep in mind how DST affects employees. Assignments and work schedules might need minor adjustments to allow employees to settle into the time change and accommodate for the sudden hour lost. Sleeplessness has become a real wellness concern, especially as it relates to burnout.
Businesses also may need to note that time changes may require wage and hour adjustments. Employers' timekeeping systems might not self-adjust for the time changes (especially if that system is paper timesheet reporting), requiring that workers' hours be totaled manually to comply with laws that require employees be paid for actual hours worked.
This weekend's time change is the less tricky one, as an employee working 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. can be paid for only seven hours of work, rather than the standard eight. In the fall, however, that employee would need to be paid for nine hours, an adjustment that also may affect overtime pay. Break requirements and any applicable collective bargaining agreements also must be considered.
- National Safety Council Tired at Work: How fatigue affects our bodies,