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CRUCIBLE STEEL (COLT INDUSTRIES) v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (12/12/80)

decided: December 12, 1980.

CRUCIBLE STEEL (COLT INDUSTRIES), PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND MABEL DORSEY, WIDOW OF WILLIAM H., RESPONDENTS. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY, INTERVENOR



Appeal from the order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Mabel Dorsey, widow of William, H. v. Crucible Steel (Colt Industries) and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, No. A-73859.

COUNSEL

Joseph A. Fricker, Jr., for petitioner.

Edwin H. Beachler, with him William R. Caroselli, McArdle, Caroselli, Spagnoli & Beachler, for respondent, Mabel Dorsey.

Lisa Roth, Assistant Attorney General, for intervenor.

Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Blatt and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson, Jr.

Author: Wilkinson, Jr.

[ 55 Pa. Commw. Page 272]

Petitioner appeals from an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) affirming an award of compensation payable to the surviving dependent widow of the claimant in the initial claim petition. We affirm.

Decedent worked for petitioner from September 14, 1942 to July 23, 1974. Until July of 1972 decedent worked as a laborer in the petitioner's coke and coal handling department; he worked primarily in the bunker bins, breaker room, and mixing room.

[ 55 Pa. Commw. Page 273]

From July 1972 to July 1974, decedent was employed as a senior operator in the coal handling department; in the performance of his duties decedent continued to spend time in the bunker bins. Throughout his employment decedent was exposed to coal dust in moderate to heavy concentrations, to coke, and to other noxious dusts, gases, and fumes. On May 19, 1975 decedent filed a claim petition under Section 108(n) of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (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),*fn1 alleging that on May 6, 1975 he became totally disabled as the result of cancer of the right lung and pulmonary emphysema. After decedent died on February 7, 1976, his widow filed a fatal claim petition. The fatal claim petition alleged that decedent died from carcinoma of the right lung, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cor-pulmonale as a result of his multiple exposure to coal dust, the coking process, and heat. The claims were consolidated.

Hearings before the referee were held in 1976 and 1977, and a view of the decedent's work area was made in July 1977. The referee found that decedent's

[ 55 Pa. Commw. Page 274]

    exposure to excessive amounts of coal dust, coke, and other noxious gases was a significant factor and primary cause of the lung cancer and extensive, chronic and acute pulmonary disease that resulted in the decedent's disability during his life and eventual death. During the course of the hearings and by letter dated February 27, 1976, the referee dismissed the Commonwealth as a party defendant because the record, as it then stood, indicated that the decedent's disability was not the result of any occupational disease enumerated in Section 108(q) of the Act, 77 P.S. § 21.7(q). Upon appeal from the referee's award of benefits, the Board concluded there was competent evidence of record ...


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