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JOEL NEGRON v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (UNITED STORE FIXTURE MFG. CO.) (02/13/84)

decided: February 13, 1984.

JOEL NEGRON, PETITIONER
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (UNITED STORE FIXTURE MFG. CO.), RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Joel Negron v. United Store Fixture Mfg. Co., Inc., No. A-80709.

COUNSEL

Thomas M. Nocella, for petitioner.

Christopher J. Pakuris, with him Keith Martin and Leonard B. Edelstein, for respondents.

Judges Craig, MacPhail and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.

Author: Macphail

[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 260]

Joel Negron (Claimant) suffered a loss of three fingers in an industrial accident which occurred while he was cleaning a punch press at his employer's place of business. At the time of the accident, Claimant was 16 years of age.

The referee awarded Claimant workmen's compensation benefits for the loss of three fingers, directed that the employer should pay a 50% penalty because employer had violated the provisions of Section 5 of the Child Labor Law, Act of May 13, 1915, P.L. 286, as amended, 43 P.S. § 44, and also awarded Claimant counsel fees in the amount of 20% of the recovery.

Both Claimant and the employer appealed to the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board). Claimant contended that the referee erred when he did not award Claimant workmen's compensation benefits for the loss of use of his entire left hand. The employer argued that the referee erred in imposing the 50% penalty and awarding counsel fees. The Board reversed the referee with respect to the penalty and counsel fees and affirmed the referee's award of compensation for the loss of his three fingers.

Claimant appeals to this Court from the Board's decision.

Penalty and Counsel Fees

It is provided in Section 320(a) of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act), Act of June 2, 1915, P.L. 736, as amended, 77 P.S. § 672(a) that where a minor under the age of 18 is employed in violation of any provision of the laws of the Commonwealth relating to minors of such age, such minor

[ 80 Pa. Commw. Page 261]

    shall be entitled to compensation totaling 150% of the amount that would have been payable to the minor if legally employed. Section 5 of the Child Labor Law provides that it is unlawful for any minor under 18 to be employed "or permitted to work" in any occupation dangerous to life or limb or injurious to the health or morals of the minor as such occupations shall be determined by the Industrial Board of the Department of Labor and Industry.

By regulation published at 34 Pa. Code § 11.49, the Industrial Board prohibited the employment of minors under 18 years, with certain exceptions not applicable here, on punch presses.

In the record of his case, it appears that Claimant was hired as a helper in the crating area of employer's plant. On February 14, 1979, there was no work in the crating area. The ...


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