Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Donald S. Stover v. Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel Corp., No. A-79678 and No. A-82380.
Neil J. Marcus, for petitioner.
Stephen A. McCarthy, for respondent.
Judges Williams, Jr., Craig and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Williams, Jr.
[ 85 Pa. Commw. Page 633]
Donald S. Stover (claimant) petitions for review of an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which reversed the decision of a referee and denied his claim for compensation. We reverse the Board and reinstate the decision of the referee.
Claimant was employed by Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corporation (employer) in its labor pool. As part of his duties at the employer's Allenport Branch, claimant was required to perform hot and heavy work on or around furnaces whose temperatures ranged from 2,200 to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Claimant was not shielded with protective clothing and suffered repeated burns of the arms and hands. The work environment was extremely noisy as a result of the operation of the furnaces and overhead crane. Following this constant exposure to these conditions, claimant became physically uncomfortable and developed stress and anxiety. On July 24, 1976, claimant reported to the plant dispensary complaining of dizziness;
[ 85 Pa. Commw. Page 634]
he was then treated by the company nurse and sent home. Claimant was diagnosed as suffering from hypertension which rendered him totally disabled from July 25, 1976. Claimant and his physician, Dr. William Rongaus, filed a sickness and accident claim form with the employer on October 28, 1976. Claimant's hypertension was deemed cured as of April 4, 1977 when all disability ceased.
On June 8, 1978, claimant filed a petition for workmen's compensation benefits under The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act (Act).*fn1 After a hearing, the referee dismissed claimant's petition for compensation, finding that claimant had failed to comply with the notice provisions of Section 311 of the Act*fn2 Claimant appealed the dismissal and the Board remanded the case to the referee to determine (1) the date of the injury; (2) whether claimant's injury was an occupational disease; and (3) whether claimant satisfied the requirements of Section 108(n) of the Act.*fn3 On remand, the referee determined that claimant's
[ 85 Pa. Commw. Page 635]
injury occurred on July 24, 1976, the date claimant was diagnosed as suffering from hypertension, and that the sickness and accident claim form filed by claimant on October 28, 1976 was sufficient notice to comply with Section 311 of the Act. The referee also concluded that claimant's injury was compensable under Section 301(c) of the Act*fn4 and not governed by the occupational disease standards of Section 108(n). The referee awarded claimant benefits beginning October 28, 1976 and terminating April 4, 1977. The employer appealed that decision to the Board. On November 18, 1982 the Board reversed the referee and concluded that claimant's injury was governed by the occupational disease standards and dismissed the petition for compensation finding that claimant failed to meet the requirements of Section 108(n) of the Act. Claimant then petitioned this Court for review.
The sole issue on this appeal is whether the Board erred in reversing the referee's finding that claimant suffered a non-disease injury under Section 301(c) of the Act and determining his claim under the omnibus occupational disease standards of Section 108(n) of the Act. We note initially in workmen's compensation cases that the burden of proof is on the claimant to show that he or she has suffered a compensable injury. Haney v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Patterson-Kelley Co., Inc.), 65 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 461, 442 A.2d 1223 (1982). Where the party with the burden of proof has prevailed before the ...