Changes in occupational safety in 2022

Starting from March 1, 2022, a new edition of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation (“Code”) comes into force  that establishes improved requirements in the field of occupational safety. The main changes for the employer are as follows:

New obligations:

1.Suspend work at workplaces if the working conditions at such workplaces are classified as dangerous according to the results of a special assessment of working conditions

The suspension is carried out until the elimination of the grounds that caused determination the class of working conditions as dangerous. At the same time, the grounds are to be eliminated based on an action plan that the employer is obliged to develop considering the opinion of the elected body of the primary trade union organization (if any). A copy of the approved action plan must also be submitted to the State Labor Inspection at the employer’s location.

During the suspension of work, the employee retains his/her place of work (position) and average earnings. During the suspension, an employee, upon his/her consent, may be transferred to another job with a salary for the work performed but not lower than the average earnings for the previous job.

2.Suspend (disqualify) an employee who does not use the personal protective equipment (PPE) issued to him/her when using of such PPE is mandatory

This new ground is introduced into the general list of cases of suspension, established by Article 76 of the Code, and refers to work:
  • in harmful and/or dangerous working conditions;
  • in special temperature conditions.
During the suspension, the employee’s salary is not accrued.

3.Carry out record-keeping and consider the circumstances and reasons that led to the occurrence of micro-injuries of employees

Micro-injuries are understood as abrasions, bruises, superficial wounds, etc., received by employees in the performance of their labor duties, as well as in the implementation of other actions caused by labor relations or committed in the interests of the employer, that did not cause health disorders or the onset of temporary disability.

Recommendations on the record-keeping of micro-injuries are to be approved by the Russian Ministry of Labor and Social Protection (Ministry of Labor). The basis for registering a micro-injury and the emergence of the employer’s obligation to consider its circumstances and causes is the application of the injured employee.

New rights:

There are separate articles devoted specifically to the rights of the employee and the employer in the new version of Section X (Occupational Safety) of the Code. The employer’s rights include:
  • conduct electronic document flow related to occupational safety;
  • use remote video, audio, or other recordings to monitor the safety of the work process;
  • provide Federal Labor and Employment Service (Rostrud) and state labor inspections with remote access to monitoring the safe production of work, as well as access to databases of electronic documents related to occupational safety.
Thus, starting from March 2022, the legislator introduces a more detailed regulation of occupational safety – clarifies the terminology, defines the basic principles of ensuring occupational safety, distributes the powers and duties of state bodies and clarifies the rights and obligations of employees and employers. These amendments aim to improve the regulation of occupational safety and ensure the prevention of industrial injuries illnesses.

1 Federal Law No. 311-FZ of July 2, 2021 “On Amendments to the Labor Code of the Russian Federation”
2 Not applied to works related to the prevention or elimination of the consequences of emergency situations, as well as certain types of work, the list of which is approved by the Russian Government