Appeals from the Orders of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in cases of Frank Troyak v. Republic Steel Corporation and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, No. A-72674; and Blaine Helman v. Republic Steel Corporation and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, No. A-72681.
Edward A. McFarland, with him Ralph A. Davis and Thomson, Rhodes & Grigsby, for petitioners.
Benjamin L. Costello and Sandra S. Christianson, Assistant Attorney General, with them, J. Scott Leckie and Kenneth J. Yablonski, for respondents.
Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.
[ 43 Pa. Commw. Page 481]
Republic Steel Corporation (employer) appeals here from separate orders of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board), awarding compensation for coal worker's pneumoconiosis to two former employees, Frank Troyak and Blaine Helman. Because both appeals raise the same issue of law, they were consolidated for argument. We affirm the Board in both cases.
[ 43 Pa. Commw. Page 482]
Both claimants were awarded benefits for permanent and total disability resulting from coal worker's pneumoconiosis, an occupational disease set forth in Section 108(q) of The Pennsylvania Workmen's 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(q) (Act). Recovery of benefits under the Act is authorized by Section 301(c)(2), 77 P.S. § 411(2), when the disability "results in whole or in part from the employe's exposure to the hazard of occupational disease after June 30, 1973."
Claimant Troyak was employed as a coal miner by employer from 1940 until September 23, 1974, when he left his employment because of poor health. Shortly thereafter, Troyak was diagnosed to be suffering from arteriosclerotic heart disease, which all three doctors whose testimony was presented to the referee testified was totally disabling. However, the referee found that Troyak had become totally disabled from coal worker's pneumoconiosis on June 18, 1975, and awarded him benefits, pursuant to the Act. Employer appealed, and the Board affirmed the referee's award.
Claimant Helman worked as a coal miner from 1934 to August 31, 1973. After leaving his employment, Helman underwent coronary by-pass surgery, in February, 1974. However, the referee found that Helman became totally and permanently disabled on November 20, 1974 as a result of coal worker's pneumoconiosis on the basis of the testimony of an examining physician, and awarded benefits to Helman. Employer appealed to the Board, which upheld the referee's determination.
Employer appealed both decisions to this court. On appeal, the Commonwealth, although a named respondent, makes substantially the same argument as employer, because the Board ordered the payment of both
[ 43 Pa. Commw. Page 483]
awards to be divided equally between employer ...