Latvia — Human resource policy supporting older workers in Latvijas Balzams
Alcoholic beverage production company Latvijas Balzams employs 600 workers, 20 % of whom are over 57 years. High-risk processes increase the risk of musculoskeletal disorders throughout working life. Task specialisation is high, as are recruitment/training costs. Under its collective agreement, the company implemented a programme to reduce employee turnover and retain older workers. Following medical assessments, adaptations such as flexible working and task adjustment/transfer were made. The uptake to this programme is greatest among older workers. Consultants set up mentoring/succession programmes between older and younger workers to retain knowledge within the company. Other worker benefits include health insurance and sports subsidies. Worker retention has improved and surveys show that there is increased awareness of occupational safety and health issues, with employees requesting more involvement in this area. Success factors include the integration of OSH activities into the overall company management system (ISO 9001), the involvement of trade unions and use of external experts. A lack of individual motivation was a challenge. The experience gained from this programme is being applied to a national European Social Fund-financed project. This programme is transferable to other companies, if appropriate financing is available.