Springing Forward to Daylight Saving Time

Springing Forward to Daylight Saving Time

19th March 2019

We’re facing that time of year again, folks – at 01:00 am on the last Sunday of this month, 31st March, the clocks will go forward an hour and we’ll be enjoying daylight saving time (DST or British Summer Time) for the next seven months, until the autumn is truly upon us. 

Daylight Saving Time was first suggested in 1895 by a British born astronomer living in New Zealand.  The first country to adopt DST was the German Empire and Austria-Hungary in 1916 and many other countries have since adopted this practice.  Here in the UK, DST was first proposed by a builder from south east London who wanted to play golf later in the evenings.  This was William Willett, great- great-grandfather of Coldplay vocalist Chris Martin.  The idea was initially ignored until the First World War when Germany adopted the practice in order to keep its munitions factories open longer!

However, DST is not practised in every country, particularly those nearer the equator and it’s predominantly a European and American practice.  Some countries used to use DST and some have even permanently adopted DST, whilst others, mostly on the African continent have never used DST at all.  In fact, a massive 80% of the world’s population does not use DST at all.

The clock shifts can complicate timekeeping and disrupt travel, record keeping, billing, medical devices and heavy equipment – to say nothing of the disruption to sleep patterns for millions as they make the necessary adjustments twice a year.  Nowadays, with computers and instant global communication, DST adds a layer of confusion that we could do with out and there are regular calls for us to adopt permanent DST to overcome the problems we experience in synchronising with other parts of the world during the summer months.

When it comes to commerce and trade, the tourist industry is an advocate of permanent DST as the lighter, longer evenings would allow businesses to stay open longer and boost tourism.  During the summer months, people stay outdoors for longer which gives businesses more time to attract paying customers.  The increase in profits, coupled with lower heating and lighting bills make DST an attractive option for so many businesses. 

The construction industry has long supported the adoption of DST on a year-round basis as this sector benefits from the lighter mornings, as do postal workers, farmers and other sectors that traditionally start their working day long before the 9 – 5 workers do.  More daylight in the mornings increases productivity and decreases the risks that come with working at height when dusk is falling.

When the autumn comes and it’s time for the clocks to go back an hour, this is when it brings risks, not just for construction workers, but for so many other industries too.  Here at Safety Fabrications we take safety seriously, after all we’re in the business of providing safe access solutions for working at height.  You can rest assured that when it’s time for the clocks to return to normal, we’ll have all the safety advice you need to prepare yourself and your construction site for a safe transition.