Introduction. The incidence of COVID-19 continues to skyrocket. A new wave of morbidity is once again becoming a test for our medical personnel and the healthcare system as a whole. According to the Social Insurance Fund of Ukraine (FSSU), since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 52,567 (+321 in the last week) reports of clinically confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection of medical personnel have been received, of which 783 cases have been fatal. Investigations were completed on 42,458 cases, 10,385 of which were found to be work-related, including 268 fatalities. The Fund financed 43 doctors (UAH 908,000 in case of disability group I, UAH 794,500 - group II disability and UAH 681,000 - III disability group when established in 2021) as one-time insurance payments for medical personnel who have been diagnosed as disabled as a result of an acute occupational disease COVID-19. FSSU accepted for payment sick leave in the amount of UAH 52.1 million to compensate for lost earnings for healthcare workers who become sick with COVID-19 as a result of their professional duties. In this regard, the legal aspects of regulating the procedure for investigating and establishing the fact of an occupational disease are becoming extremely relevant.
The purpose of the study is to identify the main legal acts governing the procedure for investigating and establishing the fact of an occupational disease and provide a clear algorithm for conducting an investigation in the event of COVID-19.
Materials and methods of research. The method of analysis was used in the processing of documents and materials that make up the basic source of the study. To systematize the materials necessary to achieve the goal of the study, a specific search method was used. Regulatory legal acts on the procedure for investigating and recording accidents, occupational diseases and industrial accidents; list of occupational diseases; instructions for the application of the list of occupational diseases, as well as resolutions of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and orders of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine have been used.
Results. In order to prevent delays in investigations of COVID-19 occupational disease and to ensure that medical personnel are aware of their rights in the event of illness, a clear algorithm of actions has been developed for conducting an investigation of this occupational disease. It is necessary to pay attention to the fact that the algorithm of actions for conducting an investigation and establishing a case of an occupational disease in case of COVID-19 acute respiratory disease includes multi-level stages from a family doctor, laboratory testing by PCR to the territorial body of the State Labor Service, the Social Insurance Fund of Ukraine, the head of the primary organization unions. A laboratory confirmation of the diagnosis of COVID-19 (a copy of the PCR test) is required. It should be noted that the untimely submission of an emergency message (Appendix 1 to Order No. 337) and a message (Appendix 2 to Order No. 337) entail administrative liability under Article 1654 of the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offenses. The commission for the investigation of an acute occupational disease should include the head (specialist) of the labor protection service or an official who is entrusted with the performance of labor protection functions by the head of the medical institution (chairman of the commission); representative of the working body of the Fund's executive directorate; a representative of the primary organization of the trade union (in case of his absence, a person authorized by employees on occupational protection issues); occupational health doctor of the territorial body of the State Labor Service; if necessary and upon appropriate agreement other representatives of enterprises, institutions, organizations, officials of the State Consumer Service. After the formation of the commission, the head of the medical institution organizes an epidemiological investigation of the case of infection of a health worker by an epidemiologist, based on the results of which an appropriate document is drawn up, after which all materials of the epidemiological investigation are sent to an infectious disease specialist or an occupational pathologist, who establishes the presence of an acute occupational disease or its absence. The materials of the investigation must include: the diagnosis of an infectious disease specialist, the conclusion of an occupational pathologist and form No. 357/o. At the same time, when sending materials to an infectious disease doctor or an occupational pathologist to draw up a Map of an epidemiological survey of an infectious disease focus for the head of a medical institution, by order of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine dated July 30, 2020 No. 1726 “Diseases subject to registration” is responsible for: questioning the patient (detailed collection of an epidemiological history); establishing a list of persons who have been in contact with the patient (contact persons) and providing this list to public health institutions at the regional level; referral of the patient for laboratory examination and hospitalization (if necessary); identification of possible causes of an infectious disease and infection transmission factors; participation in the implementation of anti-epidemic and preventive measures to limit the further spread of an infectious disease on the proposals provided by epidemiologists of public health institutions; entering data into electronic registers in terms of epidemiological surveillance; providing information on registered cases of infectious diseases to public health institutions on the territory of the respective administrative-territorial units as part of epidemiological surveillance. Thus, based on the results of the investigation, the commission draws up an occupational disease registration card as P-5 form, an act as N-1 (N-1/P) form, if an acute occupational disease is recognized as related to occupation, or N-1/ NP, if an acute occupational disease recognized as unrelated to occupation).
Conclusions. According to Article 24 of the Law of Ukraine "On Compulsory State Social Insurance", it is stipulated that temporary disability benefits for medical personnel are paid in the amount of 100.0% of the average wage, regardless of the length of service. The procedure for investigating and recording accidents, occupational diseases and accidents at work requires simplifying the procedure for investigating an occupational disease associated with COVID-19 acute respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, taking into account the development of the electronic health care system, including the introduction of an electronic sheet temporary disability.
Key words: COVID-19 acute respiratory disease, regulations, occupational disease.