Worksite-based Settings

Given that most adults spend many of their waking hours at work, worksites are a potentially useful place to encourage employees to learn how to manage asthma and prevent asthma attacks. Worksites may include interventions focused on the individual, the physical environment (e.g., clean indoor air), and/or changes in policies to support parents who have children with asthma (e.g., insurance benefits, flexible working hours). Some programs and policies have been offered by management, while others have been developed jointly through labor/management negotiations. There are also interventions that have been developed to build support for employees or their families who have asthma.

In developing your intervention, it is important to consider the feasibility of engaging in these various strategies and to consider alternatives as appropriate.  You might choose to improve ventilation, develop an informational pamphlet, or bring in health educators to inform employees about asthma. Many small businesses find it useful and cost effective to work with existing community programs to support employees or their families with asthma 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. Information can also be sent home with workers to address asthma in the family.
  • The workplace is a viable site for asthma management programs since it provides an opportunity to make environmental, structural, and policy changes that support educational messages and it provides the ability to provide social support for health enhancing behaviors.
  • Since the majority of adults are employed, the worksite represents a large, accessible audience for health promotion efforts.
  • The worksite has been endorsed as a good place to establish health education interventions because this setting allows an opportunity to conduct multiple and repeated interventions for a somewhat captive audience.
  • Health education programs in the workplace can result in fewer overall days absent, reduced short-term disability days and lower health costs.
  • Certain workplaces are important locations to promote messages regarding asthma since employees are at greater risk.
  • Asthma interventions in worksites tend to focus on policies and environmental changes to reduce exposure to triggers.

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