Public Chamber Holds Hearings on Reforms of Rostechnadzor Control and Supervisory Activities
On 14 February 2018, at the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation (PC RF), Alexey Aleshin, Chairman of Federal Environmental, Industrial and Nuclear Supervision Service, presented a report on the reforms of control and supervisory activities implemented by Rostechnadzor. The event was co-organized by the PC RF Commission on Public Control and Cooperation with Public Councils and Rostechnadzor.
Aleshin told about the history of formation of the Service and the sphere of activity within the competence of Rostechnadzor. According to him, the total staff number of the territorial bodies of the Service in 2017 was 7 thousand and 85 persons, of which 5 thousand and 70 were inspectors, or 71.6% of the total number. In 2004, when Rostechnadzor was formed, the total number of staff was 22 thousand and 100 persons. “As of today, the ultimate number is 7 thousand 745 persons”, Chairman Aleshin said highlighting that the accident and fatality rates in the supervised facilities are among the most efficient indicators of the Service’s activities, considering the downsizing of inspectorial staff that had taken place.
The Rostechnadzor staff implement functions of control for 174 thousand hazardous production facilities (HPFs), over 2 million state energy supervision facilities, about 1,800 atomic energy facilities and enterprises engaged in this sphere. According to Rostechnadzor chairman, the reduction of the fatality rate at HPFs in the same period was 67.7% (from 489 to 158 fatal accidents). This indicator was the lowest and thus the best ever in the history of the Service. This number includes 34 fatally injured persons (21.5%).
Aleshin noted that for the past 7 years the fatality rate due to accidents in the supervised facilities dropped more than fourfold in numerical terms, and almost twofold in relative ones. “As a result of the actions taken by the state to reduce business operating expenses, the number of scheduled inspection has been steadily decreasing. If in 2013 there were 72 thousand and 134 scheduled inspections, in 2017 there were 37 thousand and 553. The classification of HPFs performed in 2014 allowed us to focus on the most hazardous areas and facilities. As a consequence, the number of scheduled inspection decreased by 75.6% when compared to 2013”, Chairman Aleshin said.
At the same time, the number of violation of the mandatory requirements is still high. In the last year, over 1 million of them were revealed, and operation of the enterprises had to be suspended 2 thousand and 151 times due to major violations revealed that could have caused immediate danger to life and health of people. “In fact it means that we prevented more than 2 thousand accidents that could have entailed, among other things, human losses”, the chairman underscored.
Having told about the situation in all areas of supervision within the competence of the Service, Chairman Aleshin noted that the legal and regulatory frameworks were completely updated for the past few years as a part of the reform of control and supervisory activities of Rostechnadzor, which has allowed new approaches in industrial safety regulation. A total of 32 federal laws, 64 decrees of the Government of the Russian Federation, 104 federal codes and regulations in the field of industrial safety have been adopted. The legal and regulatory framework of Rostechnadzor has actually been completely updated with no obsolete regulatory acts accepted in the former USSR currently being used.
The risk-informed supervision model has been introduced that allowed a reduction of the number of scheduled inspections by 75%. From 1 January 2017, supervision in the field of safety of hydraulic engineering structures was “switched over” to the same model, and the sphere of federal state energy supervision is being prepared for the introduction of the risk-informed approach. Practices have shown that the overall trend towards reduction of the number of inspections takes place does not comprise safety.
Chairman Aleshin reported on a dynamic supervision model currently introduced on the basis of remote monitoring of operating parameters of an enterprise. Information on the values of safety important process parameters displayed on the control desks will be duplicated at Rostechnadzor. The dynamic model based on objective data will allow forecasting accidents, and hence time to respond. In addition, the new quality for planning of inspections will allow:
1) a lower risk of accidents due to more accurate effort-making;
2) reduction of the load on business by excluding unjustified unscheduled inspections and decreasing the number of scheduled ones; and
3) minimizing direct communication between the inspectors and the supervised organizations, and accompanying corruption risks.
The entire work is built upon a one-of-a-kind domestic software product. The system is currently tested and upgraded in various industries.
The so-called “Electronic Inspector” system is going to be introduced for a more efficient work. The HPF owners and operators will be able to undergo a preliminary test (self-test) to make sure that they comply with the safety requirements. The software complex with a base containing all mandatory requirements to production facilities will automatically analyze data from the operating organizations, shape a preliminary list of possible violations and display information on enforcement, which is to be applied when an actual inspector detects such violations.
According to Chairman Aleshin’s opinion, there is a crying need for radical rearrangement of the work of the so-called production control services. Analysis of their activities has shown that this institute is no longer efficient. The production control services are delegated broad authority by law, which allows settling virtually any issues of control of the compliance with industrial safety requirements. However, many organizations, especially those operating HPFs of lower safety classes, do not live up to this standard, and there have been instances of attempted concealment of incidents and accidents at the enterprises with such services. Rostechnadzor suggests that the legal regulation of activities performed by such services be modified. The relevant suggestions are currently under preparation.
Lately, in particular after the cancellation of the approval procedure for industrial safety reviews, the number of reviews with signs of deliberate falsity has grown. According to the material sent to the internal affairs bodies, typical models of criminal actions are forgery of reference details of expert organizations and signatures of experts, and documents inconsistent with the reality added to the files. In view of this, it would be reasonable to reconsider the licensing requirements to the expert organizations to make the level of responsibilities for decisions made more specific.
Also, the business community is studying the issue if it is reasonable to return the functions of approval of industrial safety reviews for hazard class I and II facilities to Rostechnadzor.
As part of implementation of the priority programme “Reform of Control and Supervisory Activities”, Rostechnadzor holds public hearings for the supervised organizations. Taking part in the public hearings, the public associations and business community address pressing issues in the sphere of Rostechnadzor activities in the format of dialogue.
According to Chairman Aleshin, prevention of corruption offenses is one of the important areas of activity. “The analysis of situation based on the facts of corrupt practices against the public servants of Rostechnadzor shows a stable trend towards reduction of corruption facts in the Service: 21 instances in 2015, 19 in 2016 and 15 in 2017. It should be noted that there were not corruption facts in the Service’s headquarters. Thus, such practices have decreased by almost 30% for the past three years”, Chairman Aleshin emphasized.
The members of the Public Chamber asked the Rostechnadzor chairman a number of questions about the activities of the Service and received detailed answers to them.