We aimed to recruit a representative sample of small manufacturing businesses (20 to 150 employees) for a group-randomized trial of an integrated workplace safety and smoking cessation program.
An initial sample was drawn from commercial databases, screened for duplicates or ineligibility, and contacted. Participating and nonparticipating businesses were compared on size, location, and type. Employee demographics of participating businesses were compared to a US Census Bureau database of similar businesses.
From an initial sample of 2716 businesses, 328 were eligible and 47 (9%) agreed to participate. Participating companies tended to be larger. They were similar to employees in the Census Bureau dataset.
Considerable resources were required to identify eligible businesses; commercial databases are the best resource but may not be comprehensive or current. The sample seemed to be representative of small manufacturing businesses in the study region.