Information by subject area

Research

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.

 

Occupational exposures

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
  • 0.5%  tumors
  • 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.

 

Obstacles

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.