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BOWDLE v. FORD MOTOR CO. (09/26/51)

September 26, 1951

BOWDLE
v.
FORD MOTOR CO.



COUNSEL

Wm. Chas. Hogg, Jr., J. H. Ward Hinkson, Chester, for appellant.

Maurice S. Levy, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P. J., and Hirt, Reno, Ross, Arnold and Gunther, JJ.

Author: Ross

[ 169 Pa. Super. Page 518]

ROSS, Judge.

This is a workmen's compensation case in which the employer has appealed from a judgment entered upon an award of compensation to the claimant, Francis B. Bowdle, for the loss, by amputation, of his right thumb. The referee allowed compensation, and his decision was affirmed with minor modifications by the Workmen's Compensation Board and by the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County.

The question involved is whether the formation of a blister on the thumb of an employe, caused by contact with the defectively rough surface of a tool which he was using while at work, and which blister through subsequent infection led to amputation of the thumb, constitutes an 'accident' within the meaning of our Workmen's Compensation Act, 77 P.S. § 1 et seq.

On and for 15 days prior to September 3, 1948, claimant was employed by defendant corporation at its plant in Chester. His work involved the insertion of

[ 169 Pa. Super. Page 519]

    pins in the panels of automobile doors. This operation required the use of a tool 'six or seven inches long' with a large hard rubber ball on top with two small prongs at the bottom. The claimant picked up pins with his left hand and pushed them into the door with the tool, the rubber ball end of which was held in the right hand. The tool was not held constantly in the right hand, but it was necessary to pick it up 'pretty often' in the course of a day's work. On Friday morning, September 3, 1948, he began work at the usual time but he testified that about an hour later he noticed that the tool 'had a rough place, sort of a place chipped out of the rubber ball and it was rough. In using this tool to put the pins in, a blister formed on the thumb. * * * It began to get sore; a little red spot started on there. * * * A blister was forming.' The defect had not been apparent when claimant finished using the tool at the close of work on the previous day. Claimant continued to work during the rest of the day. On Sunday and Monday, during which time the plant was closed for Labor Day weekend, he received treatment at Chester Hospital, where an incision was made across the blister. Later, infection set in and the thumb was amputated.

The claimant had the burden of proving by competent and substantial evidence that an accident occurred during the course of his employment. Updegraff v. Pennsylvania Game Commission, 163 Pa. Super. 112, 60 A.2d 605. The referee, affirmed by the board, made, inter alia, the following findings of fact: '2. That while working in the course of his employment on September 3rd, 1948, a rough spot developed on the ball that the claimant was using, which cased a blister to form on his thumb. 3. That as a result of the accidental injury, sustained by the claimant on September 3, 1948, the claimant's right thumb was amputated * * *.' Our duty on appeal is clearly set forth in the

[ 169 Pa. Super. Page 520]

    following quotation from Yanik v. Pittsburgh Terminal Coal Corp., 150 Pa. Super. 148, 27 A.2d 564, wherein Judge (now President Judge) Rhodes, speaking for this Court, stated 150 Pa. Super. at page 155, 27 A.2d at page 567: '* * * the Workmen's Compensation Board is the final fact-finding body in compensation cases; * * * the credibility of witnesses is for the board; * * * where there is competent and substantial evidence sufficient to support the findings of fact made by the board, such findings are conclusive; and * * * our courts have no power to weigh the evidence and revise those findings or reverse the final action of the board. But whether there is such competent and substantial evidence, and whether the law has been properly applied are questions which are reviewable.' The controlling question of law here is whether there is evidence sufficient in quantity and ...


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