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SAIF, ODOT want you to ‘fall back’ safely this weekend


As Oregonians prepare to set their clocks back an hour this weekend, SAIF wants to remind employers to keep safety in mind, while ODOT has a similar message for drivers to safely adjust to the time change.

“Though we know a lot of Oregonians are excited to gain an hour on the sixth, daylight saving time can create serious health and safety risks,” said Sabrina Freewynn, Total Worker Health consultant at SAIF. “By preparing for those dangers ahead of time–including potential sleep deprivation, security concerns, and added hours at work for shift workers–we hope Oregon companies can ensure employees fall back safely.”

Sleep deprivation:
Though the end of daylight saving time can mean more sleep, falling back can still impact workers’ circadian rhythms–making for more tossing and turning before heading to work Monday morning. Some might also use the extra hour to stay up late with other activities, making it harder to focus at work and creating a higher risk for injuries and accidents. Sleep deprivation can delay reaction times, impair decision-making, and affect performance.

Employers can remind their workers of advice from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine to gradually adjust to the time change by waking up, going to sleep, eating meals, and exercising 15-20 minutes later each day leading up to the time change.

Safety and security:
As the sun sets earlier in the day, safety should be top of mind for Oregon employers to ensure employees leave work safely in the dark. Employers can remind their employees of the following tips:

*Be alert and pay attention to activity happening around you; avoid talking on your cell phone or texting while walking.
*Walk with purpose, and have your keys ready before you exit your building.
*If you are biking or walking to work, check your gear to make sure lights and reflectors are bright enough to be seen. Wear highly visible, reflective clothing.
*Report any suspicious activities in the parking lot or around the building to your company or the police.

Shift workers:
While many people look forward to their extra hour of sleep, falling back can mean more hours on the job for shift workers. SAIF recommends companies avoid having employees work back-to-back shifts, particularly the week after daylight saving time.

Workplace safety is always important, but should be top of mind with the time change. For those workers putting in the extra hours, take extra care to make sure that the workspace is safe by controlling safety hazards and providing bright lighting. Also consider having healthy food options at the worksite, providing a safe place for 20-30 minute naps, and access to safe exercise facilities. Eating well and exercising are two of the most significant ways to combat the health impact associated with daylight saving time.

For more information and resources on workplace safety, visit

And here’s ODOT’s tips:

Even though we’re setting our clocks back one hour this coming Sunday , it doesn’t mean we won’t be drowsy come Monday morning – or even on Sunday itself. It’s the fact that time is changing that affects the body, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Shift workers, for example, are advised to start adjusting sleep patterns up to three days ahead of their shift change, and a similar adjustment can help avoid sleepy driving when our clocks fall back one hour on Nov. 6.

Whatever tactics you find useful, the goal is to prevent falling asleep behind the wheel. Learning to identify the signs of drowsy driving is also critical to preventing crashes that result in deaths and injuries on the transportation system. The National Sleep Foundation calls Nov. 6 – 13 “Drowsy Driving Prevention Week,” and by sharing tips for safety, such as by using the hashtag #Awake2Drive, we can work together to keep drivers awake and alert.

FIRST: Take steps to prevent drowsy driving
Here are some tips from the experts to prevent drowsy driving:

Get a good night’s sleep before you hit the road. Adequate sleep for most Americans means seven to nine hours. Going on a long drive? Use the buddy system – someone who is rested and awake for the journey and can take a turn behind the wheel or help identify the warning signs of fatigue. If your trip is several hundred miles, take a break every 100 miles or 1½ – 2 hours. Do something to refresh yourself, like eating something cold or frozen (avoid sugary snacks!) or going for a 10-minute walk. Avoid alcohol and monitor your medications. Many people unknowingly take prescription and over-the-counter drugs that contribute to drowsiness – being aware of your medications’ side effects can help you better manage your driving. Consume caffeine. The equivalent of two cups of coffee can increase alertness for several hours. Avoid driving at times when you would normally be asleep.

Watch for signs of drowsiness, and respond
If you experience any of the following, it’s time to get off the road – safely and immediately:

Problems focusing, blinking frequently and/or having heavy eyelids. Drifting from your lane, swerving, tailgating and/or hitting rumble strips. Trouble remembering the last few miles driven or missing exits or traffic signs. Trouble keeping your head up. Yawning repeatedly. Rolling down the windows or turning up the radio to “keep you awake.”

Getting sleepy? Here’s what to do
Find a safe place to pull over right away, such as a rest area or a store parking lot. Studies show a 15-20 minute nap can help restore alertness, enhance performance, and reduce mistakes and crashes. The National Sleep Foundation suggests drinking a caffeinated beverage, then taking a quick nap, and you’ll get the benefits of both (it takes caffeine a while to perk up your system). You can also go for a brisk walk to get your blood circulating. Whatever you do, it’s important to listen to your body and respond appropriately.

Tips for bicyclists and pedestrians
In addition to encouraging drivers to be alert and pay attention to the important task at hand, ODOT is joining with partners such as TriMet to also remind walkers, public transit riders and bicyclists to “Be Seen. Be Safe.” Wear light or bright colors over your clothes, add reflectors and/or retro reflective accessories to your bike, briefcase, gloves or hat, and use safety lights – similar to those many people used for Halloween this week.

Arrive alive
Each year for the past five years in Oregon, on average, 11 people have died in crashes involving a drowsy driver. According to the AAA Foundation, men are more likely to drive drowsy than women, and drivers age 18 – 29 are more likely than other age group to drive drowsy. Make sure you are rested, so you can arrive alive – and so can everyone else.

For more safety tips, visit

Meanwhile, the time change also serves as a good reminder for Oregonians to test their smoke alarms. The Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal is urging residents to test their smoke alarms before automatically changing the batteries.

“Smoke alarm technology has advanced and many now come with 10-year batteries and some are tamper-resistant,” said State Fire Marshal Jim Walker. “So, I encourage residents to test their alarms before changing the battery.”

Oregon law requires ionization-only smoke alarms that are solely battery powered to come equipped with a hush feature and a 10-year battery. Because of this technology, the national slogan “Change your clock, Change your battery” may not apply to Oregon residents who have these ionization-only smoke alarms.

Other types of alarms are also being sold with either a 10-year battery or a standard-life battery.

“Ensuring you have working smoke alarms in your home is the single most important step you can take to increase your family’s safety from a home fire,” adds Walker. “Also, be sure to replace any smoke alarm that is 10 years old or older.”

To test your alarm properly we recommend you:
1) Push the test button to be sure the battery is working.
2) When replacing batteries, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct battery type to use.
3) Always retest alarms after installing new batteries.
4) Replace any alarm that fails to operate after installing a new battery.
5) Inspect your alarms to determine if they are 10 years old or older, and replace any smoke alarm 10 years old or older. Look for a date on the back of the alarm. If there is no date, your alarm is more than 10 years old and should be replaced.
6) Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for regularly cleaning your alarms of dust and cobwebs.

Working smoke alarms provide a critical early warning to a fire, allowing you vital minutes to escape, which increase your chances of survival. Additional safety tips:
* Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, in each bedroom, and outside each sleeping area (hallway).
* Never disconnect or remove batteries from smoke alarms for other uses.
* Use the smoke alarm’s hush feature to silence nuisance alarms.
* Make a home fire escape plan and practice it with family members.
* Practice you home fire escape plan at least two times a year at different times of the day/night.
* Children, older adults, and people with disabilities may need assistance to wake up and get out. Ensure that someone will help them.

For more home fire escape planning information, visit:

For more smoke alarm and fire safety information, contact your local fire department or visit

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