The end of daylight saving time can leave many of us feeling fatigued and unfocused. These conditions can pose safety risks to us and others at home, at work, and on the road. Please review the list of precautions to keep in mind as we switch from daylight saving back to standard time.
Fatigue — Studies suggest that it takes people who work traditional hours several days to fully readjust their sleep schedule after the time change. While it may seem a welcome gift to get an extra hour of sleep as opposed to losing an hour in the spring, there is a physiological consequence to changing our clocks. Don’t be surprised if you feel a bit sluggish during the first week or so of November.
Accidents — Evidence suggests that time changes increase safety problems both at work and at home. Just being aware of the increased risk of accidents in the period immediately following the time change may help you stay alert. Try to avoid building up a sleep debt in the days before the change.
Safety professionals have long used the start and end of daylight saving time as reminders for performing recurring safety tasks. Use the occasion of setting your clocks back as a cue for these other activities:
- Check and replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. Ensure they are working properly and replace the batteries. As the cold sets in and many start up their gas-fired furnaces, fireplaces, portable unit heaters and the like for the first time, carbon monoxide poisoning risks increase dramatically during this time of year. Replace any smoke alarm unit that is older than 10 years. Replace any CO alarm unit that is older than 5 years.
- Prepare a winter emergency kit for your automobile. Such kits can be a lifesaver if you are stuck out in bad weather while driving. They should include items such as: warm clothes, blanket, flashlight, batteries, water, non-perishable snacks, shovel, flares, reflective hazard triangle, jumper cables, cat litter or sand for traction, ski hat and gloves.
- Check to see if your fire extinguishers need recharging. Check the small gauge at the top of the extinguisher. If the needle in that gauge is in the green, chances are, the extinguisher is okay. If it is in the red, you need to have the extinguisher recharged.