Submitted September 5, 2014
Appealed from No. A13-1516. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board.
Darren K. Parr, Pittsburgh, for petitioner.
Marie J. Shiring, Pittsburgh, for respondent United States Steel Corporation.
BEFORE: HONORABLE DAN PELLEGRINI, President Judge, HONORABLE PATRICIA A. McCULLOUGH, Judge, HONORABLE ROCHELLE S. FRIEDMAN, Senior Judge.
ROCHELLE S. FRIEDMAN, Senior Judge
Joseph Simko (Claimant) petitions for review of the April 22, 2014, order of the Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (WCAB) reversing the decision of a workers' compensation judge (WCJ) to grant Claimant's claim petition. We affirm.
On September 30, 2011, Claimant filed a claim petition alleging that he sustained a brain injury on September 13, 2011, during the course and scope of his employment with United States Steel Corporation-Edgar Thomson Works (Employer). Claimant was injured in an automobile accident while commuting to Employer's premises for a meeting. (WCJ's Interlocutory Order at 1.)
The WCJ held a hearing at which the parties agreed to bifurcate the proceedings to initially address whether Claimant was in the course and scope of employment at the time of the accident. (WCJ's Findings of Fact, No. 2.) On December 29, 2011, the WCJ heard testimony from the parties' witnesses on this issue. (WCJ's Interlocutory Order at 7.)
Claimant worked for Employer for 15 years; his position at the time of his injury was strand operator in the caster department. ( Id. at 1.) Employer holds two types of safety meetings: monthly safety meetings and stand-down meetings
(SDMs). Monthly safety meetings concern a particular topic, are held at the same time each month for each department, and are mandatory. ( Id. at 2.) Claimant admitted that attending the meetings is part of his regular work duties. ( Id. at 1.) Employer notifies employees of the meetings in the employees' work schedules, which are distributed the week before the meeting. ( Id. at 4.) Employees must appear one and one-half hours before their shifts start for the meeting. ( Id.) On September 6, 2011, Claimant's supervisor distributed schedules to caster department employees listing the monthly safety meeting for Claimant's shift crew (C crew) for Tuesday, September 13, 2011, at 1:30 p.m. ( Id.)
SDMs are held when serious accidents or fatalities occur. ( Id. at 2.) Unlike monthly safety meetings, SDMs are infrequent and not typically posted on employees' weekly schedules. ( Id.) The meetings are conducted by senior process leaders (SPLs) and attended by safety department managers and other " big brass." ( Id.) Employer decided to schedule SDMs for the week of September 11, 2011. ( Id. at 5.) During the week of September 11, 2011, every crew, except C crew, held an SDM separate from its monthly safety meeting. ( Id. at 6.) Louis Krizmanich, the caster department's SPL, decided to incorporate the SDM content into the first portion of the C crew's previously scheduled monthly ...