History of labor protection in Russia
It was M.V. Lomonosov who pioneered speaking about the need to introduce labor protection in Russia. His considerations on the subject appear in the third part of his work entitled “Basic foundations of metallurgy, or ore mining.” It was published in 1763.
Studying specifics of miners' work, the scientist came to the conclusion on the need to properly organize work carried out underground and on the importance to observe safety measures during their implementation.
Particular attention of M.V. Lomonosov was given to the fact that mining enterprises involved child labor. The scientist opposed inhuman treatment of the younger generation, as it harmed not only psychics, but also health on the whole.
The scientist argued that creating comfortable working conditions could facilitate miners’ work and at the same time preserve the volume of mining. M.V. Lomonosov also touched on the appropriateness to use personal protective equipment. For example, he suggested to use half-boots made of durable materials to ensure protection from scattering particles of ore.
Labor protection dates back to January 7, 1818. It was the day when a Law on work supervision was adopted. Its purpose was to increase the level of safety at factories and mining sites. In 1859, a committee for checking working conditions at factories was set up. Its conclusions are the following: workers labored at the hazard of their health and life and the level of injuries was high, as industrialists did not care about safety of their workforce.
After receiving such disappointing results, the administration arrived at the need to create a Code of workplace rules. It was assumed that its development would help reduce the number of workers’ injuries. In parallel, they were debating a law prohibiting child labor. In 1882, the law came into effect. It prohibited:
· Work of tweens under 12 years old.
· Night work.
· More that 8 hours work of teenagers from 12 to 15 years old.
Plants were carefully monitored by employees of a specially created body − the Factory Inspection. In 1899, the Main Office on factory and mining affairs was opened. The task of its employees was to monitor working conditions at factories, including mines. It was thanks to this Inspection that the first sanitary rules in Russia were developed. Until 1913, they touched only work with chromic iron, mercury and lead, while general rules were elaborated later.
The term “labor protection” came up after the establishment of the Soviet regime. The “Pravda” newspaper published the following slogan: “Labor protection – to workers”. In 1918, a list of dangerous and harmful professions was drawn up. The staff working at life or health-threatening jobs received clothing for own protection. The scope of use of harmful compounds was reduced:
1. They stopped using mercury in the process of manufacturing of felt products.
2. They prohibited using lead and arsenic at printing houses.
In the late 20's and early 30's, artificial lighting norms were first-ever adopted in the Soviet Russia. The Second World War triggered introduction of labor protection at construction sites. By 1974, safety standards for 2,000 substances had been determined. Nowadays, labor safety is a mandatory requirement. It helps an employee to feel safe and to perform the assigned tasks with maximum productivity.