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WRIGHT DEMOLITION & EXCAVATING COMPANY AND ROCKWOOD INSURANCE COMPANY v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (08/28/81)

decided: August 28, 1981.

WRIGHT DEMOLITION & EXCAVATING COMPANY AND ROCKWOOD INSURANCE COMPANY, PETITIONERS
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND CHARLES MANUEL, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Claim of Charles Manuel v. Wright Demolition & Excavation, No. A-71922.

COUNSEL

Frederick C. Trenor, II, Meyer, Darragh, Buckler, Bebenek & Eck, for appellant.

M. Lawrence Shields, III, Kratzenberg & Shields, P.C., for appellee.

Judges Rogers, Blatt and Palladino, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Blatt

[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 480]

The appellant, Wright Demolition & Excavating Company, entered into an agreement for the demolition of a restaurant and the removal of debris and equipment therefrom and then subcontracted the actual demolition work to one Melvin Castephany (subcontractor), who hired the claimant, Charles Manuel,

[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 481]

    to assist him. The claimant was subsequently totally disabled as a result of a back injury suffered in the course of this employment and he sought workmen's compensation benefits from the appellant, which were granted by a referee who found the appellant to be the claimant's statutory employer under Sections 302(a) and (b) of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act), Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended, 77 P.S. §§ 461 and 462. The Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) affirmed the referee and this appeal followed.

The appellant first contends that the Board erred when it held that under Section 302(a) of the Act, 77 P.S. § 461,*fn1 the claimant need not show that the appellant was in control of the premises where the claimant was injured. We must agree. Such a conclusion by the Board ignores the language of Section 302(b) of

[ 61 Pa. Commw. Page 482]

    the Act, 77 P.S. § 462,*fn2 and such a result is unacceptable inasmuch as Section 1922(2) of the Statutory Construction Act of 1972, 1 Pa. C.S. § 1922(2), requires that enactments of the General Assembly be construed in such a way as to make the entire statute effective. We must conclude therefore that the General Assembly intended to provide in Section 302 that an employer would not be liable to pay compensation for injury to an employee of a contractor*fn3 unless that employer occupied or controlled the premises where the injury occurred.

The appellant also disputes the referee's conclusion that the appellant was the claimant's statutory employer under Section 302(b) of the Act, 77 P.S. § 462, because there was no substantial evidence that the appellant had actual control of the workplace.

Although the meaning of "statutory employer" under Section 302(b) of the Act, 77 P.S. § 462, has not itself been interpreted, our Supreme Court has construed similar language in Section 203 of the Act, 77 ...


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