Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Mrs. Frank Varenda v. Jeddo Highland Coal Company, No. A-68263.
Anthony J. Piazza, with him John R. Lenahan, Joseph A. Murphy, and Lenahan, Dempsey & Murphy, for appellants.
Anthony C. Falvello, with him Conrad A. Falvello, and James N. Diefenderfer, for appellees.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
The narrow issue in this workmen's compensation case is whether or not a fatal heart attack suffered by Frank Varenda (decedent) is a compensable injury under Section 301(c)(1) of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act)*fn1 so that his widow, Mrs. Frank Varenda (claimant), may receive benefits.
Decedent had been employed by the Jeddo Highland Coal Company (appellant) for about 15 years as an oiler. His job was somewhat unusual in that he worked 7 days a week for at least 11 months prior to his death. He died on November 22, 1972, at which time he and a co-worker, Joseph Sabatella, were attempting to move a heavy cable, a task which decedent had performed many times before. The undisputed cause of death was a coronary occlusion or heart attack.
On January 9, 1973, claimant filed a fatal claim petition seeking workmen's compensation benefits on account of decedent's death. After two hearings had been held, a referee awarded benefits. The referee's award was then affirmed by the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board). Appellant now appeals to us.
The question of whether or not decedent suffered a compensable injury under the Act depends on our interpretation of Section 301(c)(1). This clause, as amended by the Act of March 29, 1972, P.L. 159, § 7, effective May 1, 1972, and the Act of October 17, 1972, P.L. 930, § 2, now reads as follows:
"(c)(1) The terms 'injury' and 'personal injury,' as used in this act, shall be construed to mean an injury to an employe, regardless of his previous physical condition, arising in the course of his employment and related thereto, and such disease or infection as naturally results from the injury or is aggravated, reactivated or accelerated by the injury; and wherever death is mentioned as a cause for compensation under this act, it shall mean only death resulting from such injury and its resultant effects, and occurring within three hundred weeks after the injury. The term 'injury arising in the course of his employment,' as used in this article, shall not include an injury caused by an act of a third person intended to injure the employe because of reasons personal to him, and not directed against him as an employe or
because of his employment; but shall include all other injuries sustained while the employe is actually engaged in the furtherance of the business or affairs of the employer, whether upon the employer's premises or elsewhere, and shall include all injuries caused by the condition of the premises or by the operation of the employer's business or affairs thereon, sustained by the employe, who, though not so engaged, is injured upon the premises occupied by or under the control of the employer, or upon which the employer's ...