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“When the clocks go back, it can alter how you think, how you react and the quality of your sleep. It can take up to three days to adjust to the time shift. Take extra care during the first week after the change to allow your body to adapt.

This year the clocks go back at 2am on Sunday, 29th October”

How the clocks going back affects your mind and body

The clocks go back an hour at 02:00 on Sunday, 29th October. The time change affects our internal biological clock. It needs to re-synchronise, but this doesn’t happen straight away. It usually takes up to three days for our brains and bodies to adjust to the one-hour time shift. This can alter the quality of our sleep, making us more tired during the day.

The Royal Society or the Prevention of Accidents says there is a surge in the number of accidents when the clocks go back. Casualty data shows more pedestrians are killed or injured in the afternoon and early evening rather than in the mornings. Please take extra care whether walking or driving during this period.

Staying safe during winter

With the seasonal clock change, now is the time to assess the impact on working conditions onsite of darker evenings and winter weather. We need to reduce risks by planning ahead. During the winter months the number of accidents increases, in and out of work. This particularly affects where plant can meet pedestrians and slips, trips and falls.

This photograph illustrates the effects of low winter sun on general visibility! Plant operators and vehicle drivers must take care when manoeuvring, only doing so when it’s safe. They should ensure reversing aids are in good working order. Particular attention should be paid when approaching construction plant.

Low winter sun affecting visibility










The safety of people around plant includes thinking about cyclists on roads. Reduced daylight can make people more susceptible to being tired. It can affect mental alertness at work and during driving. Make sure that time offsite is used to recuperate. Avoid putting people at risk through practices that contribute to fatigue. Preparations must be made for working in the winter months including contingencies when conditions onsite change or deteriorate, sometimes rapidly. These should be explained in pre-task briefings with the opportunity to feedback any local hazard observations.

 Learning points
  • Ensure adequate access lighting to all areas. Where necessary provide lighting towers which can be moved. Also, provide adequate task lighting.
  • Maintain pedestrian access free from slippery conditions such as ice, snow or excessive water. If required have available salt bins to grit surfaces in cold weather.
  • Assess the risk to personnel from wind, rain or snow particularly if they are working at height. STOP activities when necessary.
  • Employees should be wearing PPE suitable for the prevailing weather conditions.
  • Anyone experiencing the signs or symptoms of fatigue should report this to their manager or supervisor.


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