Health promotion in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) – conceptualization and evaluation of a primary prevention measure related to skin protection
The demographic changes in Germany are leading to a decrease in labour supply. At the same time, costs of sick leave amount to billions of Euro per year. Against this background, it is particularly important for SMEs with notoriously low staffing level and high demand of skilled workers, to promote the health of their employees. The “healthy at work” project aims at determining concrete support needs for SME and in particular for micro-enterprises (< 10 employees) in order to develop tailored prevention measures. We focus on occupational skin diseases (OSD).
We develop training courses for the prevention of occupational skin diseases to the specific needs of SME. We select five industrial branches identified as particularly affected by OSD.
We evaluate the training by performing a two-arm randomized controlled trial (RCT). Within the framework of a cost utility analysis (CUA) costs and effects of the training are measured. For assessing costs and utility we survey employers and employees of around 70 SME in the region of North-East Lower Saxony. One third pertains to a randomized intervention group. This group receives a training course on the prevention of work-related skin diseases. Defined parameters are: healthy skin, quality of life and job satisfaction. Utility parameters are measured at baseline, at 2-months and 6-months follow-up. Finally we measure the resources used for planning and implementing the intervention.
We will present the practical experiences gained from conceptualization and implementation of the training courses for the prevention of OSD in SME and show the results of the CUA.
The knowledge gained by the project contributes to conceptualize and implement targeted intervention measures to improve and promote employees' health in SME. In order to develop sustainable prevention concepts they need to be adapted to the size of the enterprise by taking into account the industrial branch, and be continuously scientifically accompanied and evaluated.