Research in occupational health is carried out by the net of specialized Scientific Institutes (some of them now are called Health Centers), departments of Occupational Health of Institutions doing undergraduate and postgraduate training. They all belong to the Ministry of Health and get budget from this Ministry. In addition to the budget they can earn. Research in occupational health is coordinated by the Institute of Occupational Health of Russian Academy of Medical Sciences in Moscow. The main task of this research is to study health effect of occupational hazards, to define Occupational exposure limits values, to establish diagnosis and to treat occupational diseases (usually these institutions have specialized clinics). Research in occupational safety domain is carried out by Safety at Work (Labour Safety) institutes specially by All Russian Central Institute of Industrial Safety. Their main research is dedicated to the injuries prevention. Research is still very often formal, areas of priority are not always well defined. Resources for research are scares however existing international knowledge due to national legislation and sometimes due to language barrier is not much used for practice. However scientists from the leading Institute of Occupational Health of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences in Moscow usually participate in the majority of the international events in the area of the occupational health. Many of these Institutions have bilateral collaboration with an appropriate institutions in countries of Europe, USA or other countries.
Joint projectof Occupational Health Department and Swedish Institute of Working Life has been finalized and Manual for Teaching on Occupational Health has been printed in English and in Russian.
Economically active population is exposed to different type of occupational health hazards therefore the function of the preventive health service is seeing as to control of occupational hazards, minimize exposure to them, health protection and promotion , prevention of occupational diseases and other illnesses. Therefore there is administrative structure to deal with this task. In Russia Hygienic standards and norms are established for all occupational hazards. National Commission on Occupational Exposure Limits of the MHSD has sections dealing with certain occupational hazard. Commission consists of leading specialists in the area. Accepted by Commission the proposed by research Institution value of Occupational Exposure Limit is presented to the MHSD for approval. There are Maximum Allowable Concentrations (MAC) for more than two thousand hazardous substances (chemical and biological) in the air in workplace. For those substances which are highly accumulative the Time Weighted Average concentrations were established. Carcinogens, allergens and substances with other specific effects are marked in the list of MACs.
Carcinogenic substances are listed in special document which has been developed by commission on carcinogenic factors at MHSD. This list of substances, products, technological processes carcinogenic for the human being is based on the list published by International Agency for Research on Cancer. Enterprises which are defined as using carcinogenic substances or technology are under special observation. On the basis of toxicity indices including MAC values chemicals are divided into four classes. These standards and norms are quite often lower than in other countries therefore process of MAs harmonization is going on. Due to economic problems in the country high percentage of working population work under conditions which do not comply with national safety and health standards, norms and rules particularly in the industries which difficult to regulate. Unfavorable situation is observed in the coal mining, ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy, cellulose and paper production industry and energy generation. In 2005 22.2% of all employees and 14.3% working women were working under conditions which did not meet the Occupational Health and Safety national standards and regulations. In the year 2003 these indicators were 19.9 and 13.2 accordingly.
Occupational injuries and diseases
Frequency coefficient of occupational injuries in 2005 was 3.1 per 1000 workers. In 2001 it was 5.0 and it was decreasing during these years. Occupational morbidity was 1.61 per 10 000 workers (1,59 cases for occupational diseases and 0.02 per 10 000 for occupational intoxications). Among registered occupational illnesses were:
chronic occupational diseases 98.41%
acute occupational diseases 0.13%
acute occupational intoxications 0.96%
chronic occupational intoxications 0.50%
38.6% of occupational illnesses cases were caused by physical factors
27.0% – caused by overload and repetitive stress
18.2% – by chemical factor
8.1% – by biological factor
1.4% – allergic diseases
69.1% of chronic occupational diseases were reviled due to medical periodical examination.
28.87% of total registered occupational diseases in the country were coming from coal mining, 17.56% from aviation transport, 12.74% from nonferrous metallurgy, 8.59% from ferrous metallurgy, 7.50% from machine-building.
Number of fatal cases were decreasing all the time from 2001: in 2005 it was 4604 cases against 6194 in 2001.
Russia is a very big country and very contrast country. There is a big difference between occupational health practice in big cities like ( from west to far east} St.Petersburg, Moscow, Samara, Ekaterinburg, Ufa, Novosibirsk, Krasnoyarsk, Khabarovsk, Vladivostok and small towns, between industry and agriculture, small scale enterprises and large enterprises. In big industrial cities the occupational health and safety system has well qualified staff, quite modern equipment and covers all main occupational health and safety areas and functions related to health (health protection, health care, health education, elements of health promotion), safety (accidents prevention, injury prevention, emergency service), work environment (control and monitoring) which have been defined by the WHO Global Strategy on Occupational Health for All and ILO programmes. In small towns and villages there is lack of properly trained personnel, lack of modern equipment and often lack of support from the local administration. The last is often observed in the big cities as well.
Unfortunately there is no in Russia special multidisciplinary intersectorial national agency responsible for occupational safety and health such as OSHA in USA, National Board of Occupational Safety and Health in Sweden, Health and Safety Executive in United Kingdom or the same sort of national body responsible at national level on occupational safety and health in some other countries. National objectives and targets as well as local objectives and targets in occupational Safety and Health are very general and expressed in qualitative manner. There is no national financed programme on Occupational Health and Safety.