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Studies show 38,700 likely to die from change to daylight saving time

Daylight Saving time is set to begin at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 9, 2014, in the United States and Canada. Although it may seem harmless enough it will result in the deaths of more than 38,700 people worldwide between Monday and Wednesday, March 10 through 12.

Fireworks light up the London skyline and Big Ben, the official clock of the United Kingdom, just after midnight on January 1, 2014 in London, England.
Fireworks light up the London skyline and Big Ben, the official clock of the United Kingdom, just after midnight on January 1, 2014 in London, England.Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

On any given day 128,000 earthlings die according to the answers expert at Ask.com. However that number jumps by 10% on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday following the beginning of Daylight Saving Time according to a Swedish study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2008. These are additional deaths because there is no drop in the average daily deaths experienced on any of the three days following the end of Daylight Saving Time in November according to the same study.

The Swedish study was validated in part by another study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2012. They discovered a 10% increase in heart attacks during the 48 hours following the time change. Unlike the Swedish study this one found a corresponding 10% drop in heart attacks following the return to standard time in the fall.

Further study shows the Swedish finding that there is not a drop in the death rate in the fall is because of an increase in automobile related deaths. Carnegie Melon University in Pittsburgh found pedestrian accidents resulting in death rose three ties following the time returning to standard time in the fall. In particular, they found the tripled rate is during the 6 p.m. hour as the rest of the two days following the time change saw no increase above the normal rate.

What famous American politician was the first to suggest Daylight Saving Time and when? Click here for the answer.​

In the United States only employees from Hawaii, Arizona, Guam and Puerto Rico will be exempt from the rising death toll as they do not observe daylight savings time. In Canada Saskatchewan and parts of British Columbia refrain from the time change devastation.

What employers can do to help employees adjust

Once almost every office would have at least one employee getting to work an hour late on the Monday of the time change because they forgot to change their clocks. Nowadays that is less often common because of the wide use of computers and cell phones that automatically update following the time change.

However employees will need to adjust their biological clock so it is a good practices to not schedule morning meetings for Monday. If you already have one or more scheduled change it to the afternoon as soon as you get to the office Monday morning. The result will be a more robust meeting with greater participation.

You can reduce pressure in the office by pushing deadlines, where possible, to later in the week. This will reduce the stress of having to hit the deadline while the body is adjusting to the time change and will increase the quality of the output.

©2014 Max Impact, used with permission.

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