“Since 2005 we’ve made a great step forward to switch to a new model of occupational safety and health,” Deputy Health and Social Development Minister Alexander Safonov told a research conference on modernization of Russia’s occupational safety and health legislation that was devoted to the World Day for Safety and Health at Work.
He noted that the main goal of modernization of the country’s occupational safety management system is to transfer from the compensation-based and cost-based OSH management system to the modern system of occupational risk management that allows to translate into reality preventive approaches to keep workers safe and healthy at their workplace and to reduce all costs related to unfavourable working conditions.
Safonov underlined that the ministry completed calculations of economic losses related to occupational accidents and diseases and to the use of the list of professions that give workers the right to early retirement.
Thus, the calculations made on the basis of the data provided by the Russian federal statistics service (Rosstat) demonstrate that losses of the working time fund in such industries as the development of natural resources, chemical production, metallurgy and construction range between 3 percent to 12.6 percent. As a result, economic losses total around 1.48 trillion roubles.
The total losses from unfavourable working conditions and occupational safety and health make up 1.94 trillion roubles or 4.3 percent of the GDP, the deputy minister said.
Safonov noted that thematic committees that will be responsible for drafting OSH standards on workplace assessment, OSH trainings and production of personal protective equipment and clothing will be created under the Coordinating Council for Occupational Safety and Health.
Moreover, he stressed the need for developing professional standards for occupational safety and health specialists.
Taking part in the conference were also representatives of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia, the ILO Decent Work Technical Support Team and Country Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the Federal Labour and Employment Service, the Social Insurance Fund, regional bodies of executive power and leading research organizations.
Participants discussed modernization of the occupational safety and health system, the improvement of the state supervision and control system in modern conditions as well as the development of insurance mechanisms as economic incentives for employers to improve working conditions.