Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of George W. Roofner v. Schenley Distilleries, Inc., No. A-71883.
Joseph A. Nickleach, with him Nickleach & Owen, for petitioner.
James R. Miller, with him Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, and James N. Diefenderfer, for respondents.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Wilkinson, Jr. and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson, Jr.
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Petitioner (claimant) appeals the order of respondent Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which vacated a referee's award of benefits to him under Section 108(n) of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Compensation Act), Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended, added by Section 1 of the Act of October 17, 1972, P.L. 930, as amended, 77 P.S. § 27.1(n). We affirm the Board.
Claimant had been employed by respondent-employer (employer) as a laborer for several years. Among his duties was the handling of wooden barrels which had accumulated dust and rust from as long as eight years' storage in a warehouse. Claimant hammered "bungs" out of the barrels, stacked, hauled, and loaded the barrels onto trucks, and maintained records concerning the transfer of the barrels. These tasks required him to work much of the time in the warehouse and an enclosed building called the "regage
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room," although he also worked outside when loading the trucks. According to the uncontradicted testimony of claimant and a fellow worker, both the warehouse and the "regage room" were very dusty; the latter more so because the actual hammering of the barrels was done there.
During the afternoon of March 6, 1974, claimant was allowed to go home after reporting to his foreman that he felt sick. The following day he called in and reported that he was "home sick." Apparently he made no further explanation as to the nature of his illness during those conversations. On March 8, 1974, he visited his family physician who diagnosed his condition as emphysema. Claimant made application for (and subsequently received) benefits under the employer's group insurance policy. The family physician completed an "attending physician's supplementary statement" for the insurer, dated August 22, 1974, on which he indicated that the condition was not due to injury or sickness arising out of claimant's employment. Claimant has not worked since March 6, 1974.
On April 18, 1975, the Board received a claim petition from claimant, dated March 12, 1975, which alleged that he had been totally disabled since March 6, 1974, due to emphysema contracted in the course of his employment. The petition sought benefits under Section 108(n) of The Pennsylvania Occupational Disease Act (Occupational Disease Act), Act of June 21, 1939, P.L. 566, as amended, added by Section 1 of the Act of February 28, 1956, P.L. (1955) 1095, as amended, 77 P.S. § 1208(n). Claimant was examined on April 5, 1975, by a physician specializing in internal medicine. The physician's report, dated April 25, 1975, stated that claimant was suffering from "chronic obstructive lung disease with chronic bronchitis" and "torticollis, probably congenital." The report concluded that "it
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is likely that his lung disorder was induced or aggravated by the dust ...