Fear of lay-offs at two food processing plants had an impact on worker safety. At one plant, an entire shift of workers had been laid off, amid rumors that the whole plant would eventually be shut down. At the second site, the "swing shift" was being replaced by a permanent night shift. Employees who could not work steady nights faced losing their jobs. In surveys taken immediately after the changes were announced and again six months later, the researchers found that workers who feared being laid off were less likely to comply with safety standards, putting themselves at higher risk for injury.
In the second study, more than 2,000 US workers were surveyed about how they felt their jobs affected their physical and mental health, if at all. People who were self-employed, worked relatively fewer hours or had more freedom on the job were more likely to say their work actually boosted their overall health. On the other hand, those who clocked more than 45 hours a week, felt pressured on the job or worked nights were more likely than other workers to say their jobs hurt their health.