Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Albert Franko v. Millcraft Corporation and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, No. A-71254.
James R. Miller, with him Noble R. Zuschlag, and Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, for petitioner.
C. Jerome Moschetta, with him James N. Diefenderfer, and Mary Ellen Krober, Assistant Attorney General, for respondents.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
[ 31 Pa. Commw. Page 323]
Millcraft Corporation (Millcraft) appeals from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which affirmed a referee's award of benefits to Albert L. Franko. Benefits were awarded for permanent and total disability resulting from an occupational disease as defined in Section 108(n) of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act*fn1 (Compensation Act).
Between 1929 and 1971 Franko spent about 11 years welding for various employers. In 1971 he was employed by Millcraft, where he worked continuously as a welder until March of 1974. During his employment
[ 31 Pa. Commw. Page 324]
with Millcraft, Franko utilized different electrodes through which a variable current flowed and from which various melted filler elements were deposited on the metal welded. Franko stood immediately over the electrode when an arc was struck between it and the metal to be welded, and he would be continuously exposed to the thick smoke which was always produced by the process.
When Franko felt that the smoke had gotten the best of him and that he could not carry on any more because of extreme shortness of breath, he quit work. Subsequently, he consulted a pulmonary disease specialist, Dr. J. D. Silverman, who informed Franko that, in his opinion, Franko was totally and permanently disabled on the basis of arc welders' pneumoconiosis and chronic asthmatic bronchitis, which occurred as a result of Franko's total and cumulative exposure to dust as an arc welder in several jobs. Dr. Silverman also opined that the bronchitis was causally related to Franko's exposure to fumes when he worked in a chemical plant. A second specialist, to whom he was sent by Millcraft, completely concurred with Dr. Silverman's diagnosis.
Frank filed a claim petition. A referee, after taking evidence, awarded benefits to Franko under Section 108(n) of the Compensation Act. When the Board affirmed the award, Millcraft appealed to this Court. We affirm.
Millcraft generally contends that certain findings of the referee are not supported by competent evidence. Concomitantly, it asserts that, because the award under Section 108(n) was based on those facts, it is erroneous. Essentially, Millcraft seeks to have us declare that there is not substantial evidence to support findings that Franko was exposed to a hazard, that ...