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Submitted: January 18, 2002

Bethlehem Steel Corporation (Employer) petitions for review of the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Board) order affirming an award of benefits to Alfonso Martinez on his claim petition in which he alleged a work- related loss of hearing in both ears.

Martinez worked for Bethlehem Steel from 1964 to 1992, and during that time he was exposed to loud and continuous noise. On or about June 23, 1995, Martinez filed a claim petition alleging that his last date of employment and/or exposure was November 30, 1992 and that notice of his injury was served on the Employer by the filing of the claim petition. At a March 1997 hearing before the workers’ compensation judge, Martinez testified about his various jobs with the Employer and his exposure to noise. He stated that in 1992 before he retired, he had his hearing tested at the union hall. He stated that he never received a copy of the test results and was never told that he had sufficient hearing loss to qualify for benefits, but he subsequently contacted counsel, who told him he had cause to file a claim. (Notes of Testimony, pp. 21-22.) At the time of the March 1997 hearing, counsel for the Employer made an oral motion to dismiss on the ground that the case had been filed for over a year without an opinion from a medical expert to establish the compensability of Martinez’s injury.

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