New health and safety rules will become effective on March 1, 2022 (Federal Law N 311-FZ dated July 2, 2021). The main purpose of the changes is to prevent risks and minimize harm to employees’ health.

  1. Recording of micro-damages. It will be necessary to register microtraumas (abrasions, bruises, bruises of soft tissues and other injuries sustained while working that did not result in health problems or sick leave (Article 226 Russian Labor Code)), as well as find out the circumstances and reasons for such micro-damages. This will be initiated after the employees contact the management. Recommendations for recording microtraumas will be approved by a decree from the Ministry of Labor (Recommendations from the Ministry of Labor for recording microtraumas).
  2. Suspension of employees without personal protective equipment (PPE). It will not be possible to allow employees who do not use their mandatory PPE (dangerous working conditions or special thermal conditions) to work. Employees who are not allowed to work on this ground will not retain their wages. If an employer fails to provide PPE for work in harmful/dangerous working conditions, then downtime will be introduced, and employees will be paid their average earnings during that time (Article 216.1 Russian Labor Code). In the previous version, this rule applied only to those who work underground. Employers will need to adopt internal regulations setting out how PPE should be provided to employees based on the findings of special assessments of working conditions.
  3. Prohibition to work in dangerous working conditions. If, following a special assessment of working conditions, working conditions are found to be dangerous (hazard class 4 as defined by Article 14(5) Federal Law No. 426-FZ dated December 28, 2013 On Special Assessments of Working Condition), then employees must be notified immediately (Article 216.2 Russian Labor Code), and work must be suspended until the causes are eliminated in accordance with a certain action plan (exceptions: work to eliminate the consequences of an emergency, and work from a list to be approved by the Russian Government). When drawing up the action plan, the opinion of the primary trade union (if any) must be considered, and a copy of the plan must be sent to the State Labor Inspectorate. The employer must provide its employees with another job until the hazard class is reduced or keep them on stand-by with retention of pay for the duration of downtime.
  4. New employer rights. Remote recording of work processes and electronic document management for health and safety used to be provided for some types of activities, but from March 1, 2022 onwards, employers will be able to:
    • Use electronic document management for health and safety;
    • Provide the State Labor Inspectorate with remote access to monitor work performance and databases of electronic health and safety documents;
    • Conduct an independent assessment of compliance with the requirements of labor law and other regulations containing labor rules (self-assessment). Employers will be able to decide on internal control in accordance with changes in labor legislation;
    • Monitor work safety with video and audio recording equipment. It is allowed to record only circumstances related to the performance of work while respecting employees’ privacy right. The use of monitoring tools will reduce the number of scheduled inspections (Article 74 and Article 96 Federal Law No. 248-FZ dated July 31, 2020).
  5. Other changes
    • Article 185 of the Russian Labor Code as amended sets out that employees retain their job (position) and average earnings not only for the duration of mandatory medical examinations, but also for the duration of mandatory psychiatric evaluation.
    • A procedure for managing occupational risks in the workplace has been put in place. Occupational risk should be assessed not only for existing production processes, but also before the commissioning of production facilities and newly created jobs. The State Labor Inspectorate has developed draft recommendations for choosing the methods for assessing occupational risk levels.
    • A procedure for employers to set up health and safety divisions, as well as health and safety committees (commissions) has been determined. Employers are to provide for the structure and number of employees in their respective health and safety division based on the recommendations of the State Labor Inspectorate (Draft document). If there is no health and safety division or health and safety specialist in an organization, their functions will be performed by the employer or an authorized employee. The employer is also entitled to invite a duly accredited third-party organization that provides health and safety services (Register of organizations accredited by the Ministry of Labor).

A transition period has been set up, so old industry rules will remain valid until December 31, 2024

We recommend adapting your company’s health and safety system so that it already operates as per the new rules. Our lawyers will be pleased to advise you and/or draw up all necessary internal regulations and conduct a special assessment of working conditions in your company.