Shorter days need greater safety awareness

Shorter days need greater safety awareness

A recent study by the RAC Foundation reveals that the annual exercise of rolling back the clocks to GMT causes a spike of 20 additional car crashes a day, with 75% of these in the afternoons which are darker after the clocks change.

Their report is consistent with many others around the world which attribute this phenomenon partly to the changing light levels and partly to fatigue caused by the short-term impact changing the clocks has on our bodies – even by only an hour.

But it isn’t just road safety that’s affected. Changing light and fatigue has a significant impact on workplace safety too.

Lighting and Visibility

Employers are legally required to assess workplace lighting to make sure it:

  • Allows people to see and notice hazards
  • Allows people to see properly and make out different colours
  • Doesn’t result in excessive differences between light within an area or between neighbouring work areas
  • Is suitable to meet the needs of individuals.

Working in good light conditions is essential for anyone working on electrics as one false move could have catastrophic consequences.

The timing of the nights drawing in also coincides with temperatures dropping. It can be tempting to workers to disregard High Vis arc flash clothing in favour of garments which are warmer.

Even layering with undergarments can pose a risk as ALL layers (not just the outer layer) must be Arc Flash resistant to give workers protection in the event of an incident, which is why we’ve developed a range of Arc Flash resistant base layers too.

Fatigue

Although more of a concern for those with underlying health conditions, Joseph Gannon, Chief Sleep Physiologist and Clinical Lead at The Sleep Disorders Clinic believes Daylight Saving affects our circadian rhythm (an evolutionary trait) which can have a short-term impact on energy levels.

The Circadian rhythm allows light to regulate our 24-hour body clocks by increasing or reducing the amount of Melatonin hormone we produce. As light increases, melatonin (a natural hormone which helps us feel tired) reduces. Conversely, as the sun sets, the lack of sunlight sees melatonin levels start to increase in our bodies to help us go to sleep at night.

According to Gannon, the sudden reduction in light in the evenings impacts this rhythm and it can take people up to a couple of weeks to shake off a feeling of lethargy and grogginess.

What ProGARM is doing to help

Mark Lant, Technical Sales Manager at ProGARM, said: “We frequently see PPE clothing being worn incorrectly or not at all because it can feel bulky, rigid and impractical – it’s all too easy to wear something comfortable and warm in the winter months, but all this seriously compromises the safety of an individual against an Arc Flash.”

Understanding the need for practicality as well as safety, ProGARM offers a comprehensive range of base layers and outer high-vis garments to allow workers to stay warm and maintain stay visible in poorer lighting conditions.

We’ve also developed ThermSAFE stretch tape, an innovation which makes sure clothing is as flexible as possible without compromising on flame resistance.

Allowing a full range of movement for the wearer, ProGARM’s ThermSAFE Stretch Tape has also been certified to the new EN ISO 20471 High Visibility standard, ensuring fully compliant visible, yet comfortable workwear.

For more information on how you can protect your workforce and receive a free Arc PPE consultation, please contact us on +44 (0) 1482 679 600 and speak to one of our sector specialists.

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