Worksite-based Settings

Given that most adults spend many of their waking hours at work, worksites are seen as a potentially useful place to encourage employees to promote oral health. Worksites may include interventions focused on the individual, the physical environment (e.g., availability of foods and drinks without sugar in vending machines), or changes in policies to support access (e.g., dental insurance). Some worksite programs or policies have been offered by management and others have been developed jointly through labor/management negotiations. There are also interventions that have been developed to build support for employees and their families (e.g., education about oral health).

In developing your intervention, it is important to consider the feasibility of engaging in these various strategies and to consider alternatives as appropriate. For example, many small businesses find it useful and cost effective to work with existing community programs to support employees or their families with oral health education off-site. It is also important that the opportunities created are flexible enough to meet the needs of a wide variety of employees.

Previous work in worksite-based settings has found:

  • Worksite settings have the potential to reach a large population of adults so oral education interventions are desirable. Information can be sent home with workers to address the family.
  • Since the majority of adults are employed, the worksite represents a large, accessible audience for oral health promotion efforts. Workers are generally healthier than their non-working counterparts, so they are excellent candidates for primary prevention, which is the general aim of most public health interventions.
  • The worksite has been endorsed as an excellent place to establish oral health education interventions because this setting allows an opportunity to conduct multiple and repeated interventions for a somewhat captive audience.
  • Workplaces, such as chocolate or candy factories, are important locations to promote campaign messages regarding oral occupational diseases since employees are at greater risk.

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