In 2021, the number of occupational diseases detected in workers amounted to 4018. This is almost a thousand less than in 2017. The most common occupational diseases — these are hearing loss, vibration disease, diseases of the spine (radiculopathy), occupational bronchitis, as well as infectious and parasitic diseases. This is due to the fact that since 2020 COVID-19 is being investigated as an occupational disease.
“More than 20% of those insured (in the system of compulsory insurance against accidents and occupational diseases, — Ed.) work in conditions of harmful or dangerous production factors, — Elena Nikitina, Head of the Occupational Risk Insurance Department of the Social Insurance Fund, said.
The possibilities of modern medicine and rehabilitation make it possible to prevent the development of serious consequences of occupational diseases and disability among such workers, and to preserve their health but also work capacity. And the state — save a lot of money on the treatment of serious illnesses and the payment of disability benefits.
In 2021, the Social Insurance Fund developed a project to prevent occupational diseases, create employee health monitoring and invited employers to participate in it. Experts analyzed the first results. Output — 65% of workers showed improved health.
Since hearing loss (sensorineural hearing loss) — one of the most frequent occupational diseases, it was the workers who are exposed to increased noise exposure, who became the first participants in the project. These are civil aviation pilots and railway workers. Therefore, the project involved two airlines — “Aeroflot” and “Siberia” and OAO Russian Railways.
«Sensorineural hearing loss in railway workers— a big problem. Although the overall rate of occupational disease is declining, the top 3 in our industry are still hearing loss, vibration disease, and radiculopathy, — Ekaterina Gutor, head of the Department of Medical Support for Train Traffic Safety and Industrial Medicine of the Central Directorate of Health of JSC Russian Railways.
“In pilots, approximately 80% of diseases are caused by sensorineural hearing loss. Projects for the prevention of occupational diseases help preserve people's health and reduce the costs of the Social Insurance Fund and airlines for disability certificates, — added the head of the labor protection department of Siberia Airlines Julia Trunkina.
At the first stage, workers were selected who had initial signs of hearing loss. At the second stage, prophylaxis took place in the rehabilitation centers of the Social Insurance Fund — “Blue River” and “Omsk”. Moreover, an individual program of rehabilitation and prevention was developed for each employee. Further — repeated medical examination and evaluation of the effectiveness of treatment. All activities were carried out at the expense of the budget, including paid leave for the period of treatment and travel to the place of rehabilitation.
In total, 25 pilots and 70 railway workers were sent for prevention and treatment.
« ;Out of 70 railway workers, 43 improved their hearing. Among civil aviation pilots, hearing improved in 19 out of 25 people, — Evgenia Nikitina told.
Head of the Research Center for Occupational Pathology and Occupational Health of Civil Aviation of the Central Design Bureau of Civil Aviation Elena Evgenievna Adeninskaya noted that the rehabilitation effect is best for workers with initial hearing loss, who have up to 15,000 flight hours on their track record. There are additional risk factors for hearing loss besides increased noise levels. In particular, these are hypertension, atherosclerotic vascular changes, overweight (only 16% of the workers participating in the project had normal body weight).
“We strive to achieve two goals — the health of the nation and the duration of the labor activity of people. Especially in the aviation industry, where the cost of training specialists is high, — emphasized Sergey Aleshchenko, Deputy Chairman of the Social Insurance Fund.
At the moment, the introduction of a norm on regular prevention and prevention of occupational diseases at the expense of the Social Insurance Fund is being discussed. And the project itself is proposed to be extended to workers in the coal and metallurgical industries.
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