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SAIF reminds workers to fall back safely

The end of daylight saving time brings extra safety risks to Oregon workers.

posted November 03, 2016

As Oregonians prepare to set their clocks back an hour this weekend, SAIF wants to remind employers to keep safety in mind.

"Though we know a lot of Oregonians are excited to gain an hour on the sixth, daylight saving time can create serious health and safety risks," said Sabrina Freewynn, Total Worker Health consultant at SAIF. "By preparing for those dangers ahead of time—including potential sleep deprivation, security concerns, and added hours at work for shift workers—we hope Oregon companies can ensure employees fall back safely."

Sleep deprivation

Though the end of daylight saving time can mean more sleep, falling back can still impact workers' circadian rhythms-making for more tossing and turning before heading to work Monday morning. Some might also use the extra hour to stay up late with other activities, making it harder to focus at work and creating a higher risk for injuries and accidents. Sleep deprivation can delay reaction times, impair decision-making, and affect performance.

Employers can remind their workers of advice from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine to gradually adjust to the time change by waking up, going to sleep, eating meals, and exercising 15-20 minutes later each day leading up to the time change.

Safety and security

As the sun sets earlier in the day, safety should be top of mind for Oregon employers to ensure employees leave work safely in the dark. Employers can remind their employees of the following tips:

  • Be alert and pay attention to activity happening around you; avoid talking on your cell phone or texting while walking. 
  • Walk with purpose, and have your keys ready before you exit your building. 
  • If you are biking or walking to work, check your gear to make sure lights and reflectors are bright enough to be seen. Wear highly visible, reflective clothing. 
  • Report any suspicious activities in the parking lot or around the building to your company or the police.

Shift workers

While many people look forward to their extra hour of sleep, falling back can mean more hours on the job for shift workers. SAIF recommends companies avoid having employees work back-to-back shifts, particularly the week after daylight saving time.

Workplace safety is always important, but should be top of mind with the time change. For those workers putting in the extra hours, take extra care to make sure that the workspace is safe by controlling safety hazards and providing bright lighting. Also consider having healthy food options at the worksite, providing a safe place for 20-30 minute naps, and access to safe exercise facilities. Eating well and exercising are two of the most significant ways to combat the health impact associated with daylight saving time.

For more information and resources on workplace safety, visit SAIF.com/safetyandhealth.

About SAIF

SAIF is Oregon's not-for-profit, state-chartered workers' compensation insurance company. Since 1914 it has been caring for injured workers and helping to make workplaces safer. For more, visit the About SAIF page on saif.com.