When moving to Russia, as any foreign country, you may face differences in the cultural and legal environment. To reduce the stress associated with relocation and integration, we highly recommended that you get acquainted in advance with the local administrative rules, safety and security regulations at HSE, its internal rules and guidelines.
Violations and fines in Russia
Within the state security policy you can be stopped by a police officer on the street / in a public place for documents check. Please learn the Guidance on encounters with the police for foreign nationals and make sure to always have with you the following documents:
· Passport with valid visa
· Migration card
· HQS work permit
· Valid registration coupon
Instead of carrying the original documents you can have the relevant copies duly confirmed by HR Office.
According to the Code of Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation you can be arrested and fined for:
· Smoking in public places
· Drinking Alcohol and Alcoholic Products in Public Places
· Taking Drugs or Psychotropic Substances in Public Places
· Appearing in Public Places in a State of Alcoholic Intoxication
· Disorderly Conduct
· Causing a disturbance at night-time
Please abstain from smoking and consuming alcohol, including beer, in places other than those specially designated for these purposes, like bars, cafes, clubs.
In addition, please be kindly advised of the following recommendations to avoid most widespread hardships and hazards.
Tips to prevent the spread of the disease and not to catch it:
· Avoid close contact with sick people.
· If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
· Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
· Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
· Practice other good health habits. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
· When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
· If you are sick, immediately inform your doctor or the insurance company of the symptoms.
· Follow all the doctor’s recommendations and instructions.
Escape Planning and Fire Safety
· Building evacuation plans are posted on each floor in each HSE-St. Petersburg’s building. Learn your building’s plan(s). Know at least two ways out of the building.
· If the smoke alarm or fire alarm sounds, get out of the building quickly and stay out. If you have to escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your way out.
· People responsible for fire safety at HSE-St.Petersburg will call the fire department.
· Plan places where your family will meet, both within and outside of your immediate neighborhood.
· Become familiar with routes and other means of transportation out of your area. Choose several destinations in different directions so you have options in an emergency.
· Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather.
· Follow recommended evacuation routes. Do not take shortcuts; they may be blocked.
· Be alert for road hazards such as washed-out roads or bridges and downed power lines. Do not drive into flooded areas.
· If you do not have a car, plan how you will leave if you have to. Make arrangements with family, friends or your local government.
· Stay in the kitchen, when cooking in the apartment. Cook only when you are alert, not sleepy or drowsy from medicine/ alcohol.
200 VOLTS, 50 Hz is the standard electrical voltage throughout Russia. To use electrical appliances you will need a converter /plug adapter.
For more safety tips, please refer to http://www.hse.gov.uk/toolbox/electrical.htm
Please follow the following tips in terms of crime prevention:
· Be alert to the possibility of mugging, pick pocketing and theft from vehicles or hotel rooms. Watch your wallets and bags. Petty theft sometimes takes place in St. Petersburg. Be aware of pickpockets in the main tourist areas and around the main railway concourses.
· Be wary of groups of women and children who beg.
· Be aware of drink-spiking leading to robbery, violence and/or abuse. Unconscious victims are often left outside, which can be life threatening in the winter months. Buy your own drinks and keep sight of them at all times.
· Look after your passport at all times, especially in major transport hubs and busy areas.
If Arrested or Taken to a Police Station
· Avoid walking on the street at night or late in the evening.
· Avoid walking in an unknown neighborhood (unless you are accompanied by a Russian colleague from HSE-St. Petersburg).
· Although we are not working in an industrial environment, to ensure your safety in a foreign country, try to keep the two-man rule: avoid walking alone at any time of the day.
· If you happen to be stopped by the local police, do not panic.
· Ask politely if you may call the emergency number(s)
· Rail travel
Due to its vast territory of the Russian Federation it is likely that you may want to travel somewhere by train. In this case it is highly recommended to bear in mind the following:
· If you are travelling by overnight train in a sleeping compartment, store valuables in the container under the bed or seat.
· Don’t leave your sleeping compartment unoccupied as some compartments only have a simple lock on the sliding door. If the carriage is equipped with additional security locks or chains make sure to use them at nighttime.
· Don’t agree to look after the luggage of a fellow traveler or allow it to be stored in your compartment.
Political rallies may occur in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other places across Russia. For safety reasons:
· Check media for the latest information, be vigilant, and avoid any demonstrations.
· If you are arrested for participation in such events, do not hesitate to contact your Embassy. It is highly recommended to have a list of emergency numbers.
For personal security it is highly recommended to take the following steps:
· A foreign citizen should remain vigilant in all public places, particularly those where access is not controlled (e.g. open-air events and markets) and in major transport hubs.
· If you have noticed a suspicious-looking person/ unwatched personal belongings, you are to call the police and inform them of your concern.
· If an evacuation is ordered, go to a designated place. Make sure all staff and others in your facility are accounted for. Help challenged people who may need your help in exiting.
After an explosion, terrorist attack, or other random act of violence there can be a second event that cause as much damage as the first so the following steps should be taken:
· Be aware of your surrounding and find your safest escape route.
· Personal safety of yourself and those around you should be the first concern.
· Since one event can be followed by another, stay alert. There may be more danger yet to come.
· For protection, consider crawling under a table or desk and remain there for at least 60 seconds.
· Stay away from windows, mirrors, overhead fixtures, filing cabinets, bookcases, and electrical equipment.
· Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in obvious, immediate danger (building collapse, fire, etc.). Avoid known problem areas (where there are gas lines, fire hazards, etc.). Once out, keep as far away from the building as possible.
· Open doors carefully. Watch for falling objects.
· Do not use elevators.
· Do not use matches or lighters. Sparks might trigger explosions.
· Avoid using telephones and hand radios. Electrical sparks or signals could trigger other bombs.
There are occasional occurrences of flooding in southern regions, and forest fires, mainly in the far eastern areas and Siberia.
Russia is traditionally known for its severe weather with extremely cold winters. While in real life the danger from winter weather varies across the country, you are likely to face severe winter weather at some point.
To survive in extreme cold you are to bear the following ideas in mind:
· Dress warmly. Layering your clothing will provide the best insulation and retain body heat. Wearing a non-permeable outer layer will minimize the effects of strong winds.
· Protect your extremities. Hands and feet are at greater risk of frostbite because body heat is naturally reserved in the torso to protect vital organs. So wear an extra pair of socks, and choose mittens rather than gloves.
· Wear a hat. You lose about 30 percent of your body’s heat from your head. Particularly good are hats that cover the ears.
· Wear properly fitted winter boots. Boots that are too tight can limit or cut off circulation to the feet and toes. Also, choose a boot that’s insulated and has treads on the bottom for traction on ice and snow.
· Stay hydrated. The body uses a lot of energy to keep itself warm. Drinking plenty of fluids is important because your body will need frequent replenishing when fighting off the cold.
· Get out of wet clothing as soon as possible.
When crossing streets, use marked crosswalks and look carefully before you cross the street. Do not expect cars to stop for pedestrians – sometimes they expect you to stop for them! Do not ever attempt to jaywalk on busy streets.
If you do not speak Russian, it would not be a good idea to take a taxi due to communication problems. However, if you are with a Russian speaker, you can flag down taxis in the street. Agree to a fare before getting in the car.
Suggested taxi services:
Tap water is not safe to drink for newcomers (unless there is a water-filtration system installed in your apartment). Bottled water is available at many kiosks in the streets. Bottled water is either sparkling or plain, which the Russians call “with gas” or “without” gas” or “s gazom” and “bez gaza”.
Eating food prepared by street vendors is also something to avoid since many of these vendors are not licensed. Stick to the popular cafes and restaurants recommended by your Russian colleagues.
If you plan on buying alcohol, buy it only in stores, not kiosks. There have been incidents of alcohol poisoning from alcohol bought in kiosks.
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