Board Case Update: 06/17/11

Bryan K. Cognetti, 63 Van Natta 1218 (2011) (ALJ Naugle)
Claimant requested review of an Order upholding SAIF’s denial of his occupational disease claim for binaural hearing loss.  He worked as a groundskeeper at an RV park.  He alleged that, between February 28, 2005 and March 25, 2005, he operated a chain saw, every day, for eight hours a day, without hearing protection.  He alleged he had never used a chain saw before his employment at the RV park.
Query: Did he cut down every tree in the county, with the aid of his trusty blue ox?
The RV park owners testified that, during the month claimant worked for them, they never, once, saw him use a chain saw.  The person who supposedly taught this modern-day Paul Bunyan how to use a chain saw testified that claimant was hired to clear brush around the park (not cut down trees) and that he did not recall ever teaching claimant how to use and maintain a chain saw.
The Board found claimant not credible. Affirmed
 Jocelyn T. Simpson, 63 Van Natta 1309 (2011) (ALJ Rissberger)
The employer requested review of an Order that set aside its denial of claimant’s occupational disease claim for unspecified bilateral hand and wrist conditions. The employer argued, based on the holding in Daymen C. Kessler, 60 Van Natta 2285 (2000), claimant had to prove more than, simply, that his work exposure caused symptoms.  See Tammy L. Foster, 52 Van Natta 1788 (2000)(a worker cannot establish a compensable occupational disease merely by proving that work activities were the major contributing cause of her disability or need for treatment).
The Board observed, as follows:
“Yet, claimant need not prove a specific diagnosis to establish a compensable occupational disease claim.  See Michael S. Young, 59 Van Natta 1111 (2007)(where no medical evidence attributed the claimant’s symptoms to non-work related diagnoses, he was not required to prove a specific diagnosis to establish a compensable occupational disease)(citing Boeing Aircraft Co. v. Roy, 112 Or App 10, 15 (1992)(a claimant need not prove a specific diagnosis if he proves that his symptoms are attributable to his work) and Tripp v. Ridge Runner Timber Services, 89 Or App 355, 358 (1988)(same)).”
The Board concluded that, because claimant suffered from “conditions,” (albeit with unspecified diagnoses), she need not prove that her symptoms were, in fact, the occupational disease for which she sought treatment.  In other words, because there was no other medical explanation for her pain, the Board found her symptoms and need for treatment compensable.  Affirmed