Organizational profile

Organizational profile of occupational health

Few words about history of occupational health and safety in Russia. The first state occupational health and safety system in Russia has been created in the 19-th century  by  decree of the Council of Ministers of Russian Empire which was approved in August 1866. This decree  prescribed  to factories owners to create hospitals for their workers. In 1882 labour inspection has been created in Russia. Factories medical doctors and  labour inspectors observed conditions of work and compliance with health and safety requirements. Factories doctors and labour inspectors made an important contribution to the health and safety of workers at that time.

The first scientific institute for research in  industrial hygiene and occupational diseases  was  established  in 1923 in Moscow  which became and which is still a leading research institute in  occupational health and safety in the country. At present it is the Institute of Occupational Health of  Russian  Academy of Medical Sciences  which coordinate research activities  in Occupational Health in the country. The second  Institute was established  in  Saint-Petersburg  (former Leningrad) in 1927.  Later on eleven institutes of Industrial Hygiene and Occupational Diseases in different  regions of the country were created with  the main purpose to do research in occupational hygiene, industrial toxicology, physiology,  and other related areas. At the time of the transition on 90-s of the previous century many of  these institutes  changed  name, expended their areas of work and became  experts in the regions.

At  the  State Institute of  Medical Postgraduate Training in St.-Petersburg which has been founded by the initiative of Russian Princess Elena Pavlovna in 1885  (at present it is Medical Academy of Postgraduate Studies) the first department (chair) on Industrial Hygiene and Occupational Diseases was organized and headed by Professor Vigdorchic  N.A. in 1924 with the  main purpose to provide medical doctors with postgraduate training  in  occupational health and to make a research in tthis area. Research of this department made an important impact on the creation and  development of the Occupational Health particularly in the health effect of toxic chemicals and other occupational hazards,  etiology and pathogenesis  of silicosis,  occupational morbidity and medical periodical  examinations. Later on this department  made significant impute  to the area of  health protection of the working women. Last 20–30 years research of this department was dedicated to the health of construction workers.

Foundations of the  theory and practice of  industrial toxicology in Russia has been developed in 20-s  and- 30-s  and 40-s years of the last century  by  professor  Pravdin N.S. in Moscow who devoted  his investigations to the occupational  exposure limits development and  professor Lazarev N.V. in St.Petersburg, whose investigations were dedicated to the theory of the  industrial toxicology including mechanism of the toxic effect, relationship between structure of chemicals and their toxicity, entering of chemical to organism, metabolism and elimination of toxic chemicals. Books and articles written by him created the foundations of the theory of the industrial toxicology, many of them are still valid.

Internal model

Until the year 2005 occupational health component in Russia was  under responsibility of Ministry of Health and Occupational safety component –  under the Ministry of Labour and Social Development. In 2005 reforms took place and these two Ministries have been merged and  Ministry of Health and Social Development (MHSD) has been created with the following  federal functions:

Development of the state policy and legal regulations in the public health, social development, labour and consumers right protection, including  medical prevention aspects as well as prevention of infectious diseases, HIV\AIDS, medical service  and medical rehabilitation, pharmaceuticals and drugs quality , sanitary and epidemiological wellbeing, quality of life and population income, policy on demography, health services provision for each branch of economy with dangerous conditions of work, risk assessment  related to the noxious occupational factors of physical and chemical nature,  health resorts, labour payment,  provision of pension and social insurance, conditions of work and labour  safety, social partnership, employment and unemployment, labour migration, social defense of population, family, women and children. Among multiple above listed functions of  MHSD many of them have direct or indirect relationship to Occupational Health and Safety.

MHSD works through 3 federal services and 3 Federal agencies:

  • Federal service on supervision in the sphere of consumers right protection and  wellbeing of human being
  • Federal service on supervision in the sphere of public health and social development
  • Federal service on  labour and employment (Labour inspection is attached to this service)
  • Federal agency on public health and social development;
  • Federal medicine and biology agency

There are two federal services at the new Ministry of Health and Social Development dealing with OSH: the Federal Administration Department on Consumer Protection and Human Being Wellbeing Supervision (abbreviation in Russian sounds as ROSPOTREBNADZOR) and the Federal Service Department on Labour and Employment.

The frame of work is defined for each Federal service and each Federal agency (see site). Occupational Safety and Health department at MHSD is located within Federal service on supervision in the sphere of consumers right protection and  wellbeing of human being. Each administrative region (they are 90) has territorial  Centre of Federal service on supervision in the sphere of consumers right protection and  wellbeing of human being (ROSPOTREBNADZOR). Each such Centre has Occupational Safety and Health department therefore all territory of the country is covered by this type of service.

In addition every sector of economy has department of occupational safety and health  which has coordinating  and controlling functions. It also develops  statistics  and works in collaboration  mainly with Federal service on labour and employment  or with other appropriate service or agency of the  MHSD if necessary.  There is committee of Labour and Social Development in the local government of  each administrative territory which also deales with occupational health and employment.

Occupational health and safety in Russia is very much the component of public health however absence of national specialized agency makes occupational safety and health less seen and less efficient in the development of national policy and strategy in this important  area.