Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Charles Brin v. Glasgow, Inc., No. A-76547.
Paul A. Barrett, of Nogi, O'Malley & Harris, P.C., for petitioners.
Erik N. Dingle, for respondents.
Judges Rogers, Craig and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
[ 59 Pa. Commw. Page 407]
Charles Brin worked for Glasgow, Inc. as a rock foreman and blaster from November, 1970, until June, 1976, when he was laid off. Brin worked in coal mines for another employer from 1947 to 1952.
In January, 1977, Brin consulted his family physisian, Dr. Walter Mokychic, because he was experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath and periods of choking sensations. The doctor took chest x-rays and diagnosed Brin's condition as one of severe anthracosilicosis. Early in 1978 Brin applied for Federal Black Lung benefits and received them from April, 1978.
On February 22, 1978, Brin again consulted Dr. Mokychic who then learned for the first time that Brin's job with Glasgow had caused him to be exposed to heavy silica rock dust on a daily basis. On April 5, 1978, Brin filed a claim petition alleging that while working for Glasgow he was exposed to a silica hazard and became totally disabled as a result of that exposure as of February 22, 1978.
After a hearing at which Dr. Mokychic testified that the claimant was suffering from silicon-silicosis as a result of his work with Glasgow, the referee found
[ 59 Pa. Commw. Page 408]
that the claimant was totally disabled due to his exposure to a silica hazard in the course of his work for Glasgow. The Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board affirmed the referee's decision.
On the occasion of this appeal the employer argues that Brin's disability is not compensable because Dr. Mokychic testified that Brin suffered from anthracosilicosis as well as silicon-silicosis and advances the proposition that the claimant cannot have benefits from Glasgow because his condition of silicon-silicosis only contributed to or aggravated the anthraco-silicosis and was not itself the cause of Brin's total disability. Glasgow additionally contends that for Brin to be eligible for benefits for total disability for silicon-silicosis it was required that the referee find that his silicon-silicosis was totally disabling even had he not also suffered from anthraco-silicosis.
Dr. Mokychic stated in the course of his testimony that the fact that when he first looked at Brin's chest x-ray he found "a severe, late anthraco-silicosis" caused him surprise, because he believed that Brin had not worked in the mines long enough or recently enough to have been the victim of so severe a lung problem as he in fact had. The doctor then testified that when he learned that Brin's work for Glasgow caused him recently and for an extended period to be exposed to heavy silica dust, he concluded that the claimant was suffering from silicon-silicosis. The doctor's testimony in its entirety is to the effect that from the time he learned of Brin's ...