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Shift Change

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Duplicate or distribute this activity. Students may work independently or cooperatively.

Risk Analysis
Coal miners' health is generally much better today than in the past, thanks to new mining processes and stronger regulations. Find out whether the same thing is true for workplaces in your area.

• Choose a business or industry you could see yourself working in.

• Interview an employee or manager about risks involved in the work, and measures that have been taken to reduce the risks. (To learn more about workplace safety and how workers can protect themselves, visit the Livelyhood "Worker Health and Safety" site resources.)

• Prepare a chart to summarize the information you gather.

Industry or Business: _____________________________________________


what injury/illness could result

how risk has been reduced









Compare your chart with those prepared for other businesses and industries. Rate the workplaces as to how hazardous each one is, and how effectively risks have been reduced in each.

If this activity leaves you curious to go further, you can also do research on the most dangerous jobs in the U.S. by checking out Livelyhood information and listings of Web sites dealing with dangerous jobs.

A Healthy Attitude
Can a bad job situation be hazardous to your health, even if it doesn't involve significant physical risks? Draw on the information in "Shift Change," information in health publications, views of health professionals, and your own experiences to answer the questions that follow. You can also do a search on the Web for solutions to workplace stress, starting with a search engine, or with The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) (http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/stresswk.html), a Federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related illness and injury, including stress. NIOSH is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; it is distinct from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is a regulatory agency located in the U.S. Department of Labor.

• What is the relationship between emotional well-being and physical health?

• What job situations contribute to emotional well-being?

• What job situations create emotional distress?

• What should workers do to deal with these negative situations?

• What should companies do when they find that workers are unhappy?


• Analyze one job situation shown in "Shift Change." Figure out how the job could be structured to the benefit or detriment of workers' emotional well-being. Write a best case/worst case scenario.

• Share your analysis with a person who works in a similar job. Ask him or her to help you expand and sharpen your scenarios.


• Focus on one particular topic having to do with mental and emotional health in the workplace, such as how employee benefits packages deal with mental health. Gather information on your topic and then share it with the class.