Objectives: Prevention at the worksite is considered increasingly important. This paper describes the methods used in a nationwide prevention campaign performed at a large Swiss bank and a Swiss industrial company. The aim of this project was to encourage general health awareness among company employees. We also aimed to provide the companies with general health analyses of their staff as a basis for future health promotion. Furthermore, new screening methods were evaluated in the field of research.
Methods: Participation in the programme was voluntary and free of charge. The programme targeted all 25,243 employees of the two companies in all regions of Switzerland. A mobile unit was available on site. The programme included a written health questionnaire and medical examinations (e.g., blood pressure, blood tests, ultrasound of the common carotid artery, osteodensitometry, examinations of the eye, etc). Analysis of individual test results, information brochures, and a telephone information service were also provided. Based on the data of the individuals, the "health status" of the employees of the two companies was analysed. The companies did not have access to the data of the individuals. The programme ran from August 1996 to August 1998.
Results: With a total of 10,321 persons taking part in the project, the participation rate was 41%. For the different examinations offered, patterns of participation were identifiable that varied with age, hierarchical status within the concern, body mass index, and number of physical complaints of the employee. Some of the variables showed the same trend for different tests, while others showed opposite trends.
Conclusions: Participation in worksite health promotion programmes is dependent on a complex system of individual and structural variables that need to be considered when planning worksite health promotion programmes. Consideration of specific target population characteristics, including motivations and incentives as well as structural constraints is likely to improve participation rates in worksite health promotion programmes among employees.