Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Howard W. Cornell v. Fruehauf Corporation, Independent Metal Division, and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, No. A-71052.
James R. Miller, with him Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, for appellant.
C. Jerome Moschetta, with him James N. Diefenderfer, for appellees.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer and Blatt, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Mencer.
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Fruehauf Corporation (Fruehauf) appeals from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which affirmed a referee's award of benefits to Howard W. Cornell. 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).
Cornell, who prior to 1961 had been employed as a coal miner for many years, worked for Fruehauf from July 1961 to July 1974 as an arc welder. In the performance of his duties as a welder, Cornell utilized
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electrodes of different sizes containing various filler wires which would melt when an arc was struck between the electrode and the metal to be welded. This process generated dust, smoke, and fumes, the exact composition of which was unknown to Cornell. The fumes, which were abundantly and regularly present, would come up under the protective hood worn by Cornell whenever he welded.
Cornell applied for benefits, and hearings were held before a referee. At those hearings, evidence from two pulmonary disease specialists indicated that Cornell was permanently and totally disabled by arc welders' pneumoconiosis and anthracosilicosis as a result of his total and cumulative exposure to dust in the mines as well as the extents of exposure while working as a welder. One specialist, Dr. J. D. Silverman, noted the difficulty in separating the two forms of pneumoconiosis in the lungs. The distinction, he explained, is made on the basis of an occupational history indicating the types of dust to which an individual has been subjected. Dr. Silverman also testified that arc welders' pneumoconiosis is peculiar to the occupation of arc welding, that it is not a disease the general population can contract, and that exposure to arc welding constitutes an occupational pulmonary hazard.
In his decision, the referee found the following essential facts:
6. During all of his employment as a welder with the defendant the claimant was exposed to noxious dusts, gasses, and fumes emanating from the welding operation and peculiar to said occupation.
8. On January 10, 1975 the claimant became permanently and totally disabled due to
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pneumoconiosis; namely, anthracosilicosis and ...