Daylight Saving Time and the Construction Industry

Daylight Saving Time and the Construction Industry

13th March 2015

The last Sunday of March will see the annual switch to Daylight Saving Time (DST), also known as British Summer Time (BST), – before going to bed on Saturday night we will set our clocks forward an hour.  At least, those of us organised enough to remember will.  No doubt, some of us will forget all about it and end up late for something or another on Sunday, but at least those people won’t lose an hour of sleep like the rest of us.  With the longer days it seems as if spring is well on the way which is something we will all be thankful for here in the UK.  While the debate rages on whether or not to keep BST all year round we’re taking a look at some of the benefits of longer days.

One of the biggest benefit is an increase in road safety.  The AA is backing the campaign for year round BST, citing the latest research which estimates that it would save around 100 lives a year – that’s something that none of us can argue with.

British Crime Surveys suggest that more than half of criminal offences take place during the hours of darkness in the late afternoon or early evening.  Campaigners reckon that lighter evenings could help to reduce crime (or even the fear of crime) which would make a huge difference to those who are afraid of going out in the evenings.  This is especially true of the elderly.

Researchers at Cambridge University have discovered that an extra hour of sunlight in the winter evenings could have a dramatic effect on our utility bills.  As people need to use less lighting and heating, it’s estimated that as a nation we could save up to £485 million annually – something not to be sneezed at with power bills soaring.

Health wise, it makes a lot of sense to keep BST all year.  A recent study of more than 23,000 children reveals that their daily activity levels were 15 – 20% higher on summer days than on winter days.  It was disclosed that moving the clocks back in autumn causes a 5% drop in physical activity. 

However, as far as the construction industry is concerned, we all need to be on the lookout for hazards and risks.  There is an increase in accidents at work the day after we make the switch to BST, often caused by workers being more tired as their bodies struggle to keep up with the change. 

Whether BST is adopted on a year round basis here in the UK or not, there’s no getting away from the fact that the days are actually shorter during the winter.  That’s nature and there’s no getting away from it.  Whether we have the extra hour of daylight in the evening or in the morning, all of us in the construction industry should be aware of the need for vigilance at all times when working.  And for the next week or so as our bodies get used to the new working hours, we need to take extra care to ensure that we don’t end up being another accident statistic.