Vera Corrine Cooper, hereinafter called claimant, filed her first notice of death of her husband and claim for compensation under the Death Benefit Provisions (85 O.S. Supp. 1955 § 22) of the Workmen's Compensation Act, 85 O.S. 1951 § 1 et seq., as amended. An award was denied and this proceeding is brought by claimant against the City of Oklahoma City to review the order denying the award. The award is in part as follows:
The sole question for determination is whether the State Industrial Court erred in its conclusion that deceased at the time of his death was not engaged in a "hazardous employment" as defined by 85 O.S. 1951 §§ 2 and 3.
The record discloses that deceased was employed by the Park Department of the City and operated a tractor cycle mower in cutting weeds and grass. Deceased mowed at various places and locations according to instructions apparently given to him on a
On the day of his death the deceased was directed to mow in Oliver Park. Thirty-third street passes through Oliver Park and, constituting a part thereof, is a bridge which spans a creek flowing through the park. No one saw the fatal accident. Deceased was on his second round of mowing and was beside the bridge and when found was crushed between the steering wheel and a beam of the bridge. The tractor was partly under the bridge and was out of gear with the engine and cycle running.
Claimant contends that the work of decedent falls within the classification of "construction and engineering works", being one of the enumerated hazardous employments set forth in 85 O.S.Supp. 1959 § 2, as defined by 85 O.S. 1951 § 3, subd. 14.
Title 85 O.S. 1951 § 3, subd. 14, is as follows:
In City of Tulsa v. State Industrial Commission, 189 Okl. 73, 113 P.2d 987, we held as follows:
Furthermore in determining whether a claimant is entitled to the benefits of the Workmen's Compensation Law we stated in City of Tulsa v. Wilkin, 201 Okl. 299, 205 P.2d 295, as follows:
The deceased was employed by the City to work in its park department. Generally his duties in that department were identified with the mowing of grass and weeds in the parks of the City and in those areas under the jurisdiction of the park department. On the day of his death he was performing such duties in Oliver Park. In view of his employment and the duties he was performing we consider it relatively unimportant that the accident occurred at or next to the bridge. Obviously deceased was mowing along the creek and at the side of and under the bridge. The fact that the area in which his death occurred was against or next to the bridge does not render such area any less a part of the park through which the street crossed. Deceased was performing no work upon the bridge itself such as replacing a rivet or bolt or repairing a hole in the floor of the bridge. Nor do we see under the evidence any connection between the mowing and the passage of traffic over the bridge or the street of which it was a part. We cannot say the mowing was under the circumstances in the words of the statute, an improvement or alteration or repair of a street or highway.
The operation of a public city park is not named by 85 O.S.Supp. 1959 § 2, as a hazardous employment and in order to invest the State Industrial Court with jurisdiction it is required that the facts must bring the employment of deceased within the definition of "hazardous employment" as the same is defined in 85 O.S. 1951 § 3. City of Tulsa v. State Industrial Commission, supra. Claimant has failed to make the required proof.
Furthermore, in Rider v. Bob Hiner Service Station, Okl., 321 P.2d 378, 379, we held as follows:
In Drainage District No. 12 of Tulsa County v. State Industrial Commission, 206 Okl. 460, 244 P.2d 585, a workman was injured while mowing a levee with a tractor drawn mower. Therein we held:
And in City of Hobart v. Wagoner, 191 Okl. 689, 132 P.2d 926, where claimant was injured while erecting a traffic sign at an intersection we vacated an award of compensation on the ground the sign did not constitute an improvement or repair or alteration of the street and was not attached for the purpose of providing passage on the street.
Claimant cites a number of cases but they are either not in point or are clearly distinguishable on their facts. We will mention several of these cases. In City of Tulsa v. State Industrial Commission, Okl., 319 P.2d 313, claimant was employed by the city park department and was injured while topping trees preliminary to their removal for construction of a road through the park; and in City of Tulsa v. State Industrial Commission, 189 Okl. 73, 113 P.2d 987, claimant was one of a crew constructing a street curb in the park. Both of these cases presented facts clearly constituting work connected with or incident to construction, improvement and repair of a street. Also cited by claimant is Southwestern Forestry Co. v. Pettus, 154 Okl. 187, 7 P.2d 139, wherein the claimant was employed to trim trees so as to leave a clear space of three feet surrounding electric or power lines. This was done so that the lines would not be broken and passage of the current would continue without interruption. This is not analogous to the present situation in view of our conclusion as above expressed.
The finding of the State Industrial Court on the question of whether deceased was engaged in a hazardous employment at the time of his death, within the terms of the Workmen's Compensation Act, is not binding on this court but is a question on which the evidence may be reviewed to determine if the employment was hazardous. McClung v. Colclasure, 197 Okl. 445, 172 P.2d 623. See also Burger v. Lickliter, Okl., 319 P.2d 594 and McCarthy v. Forbes Painting & Decorating Co., 203 Okl. 463, 223 P.2d 366.
Applying this rule we have considered and weighed the evidence and have reached the conclusion that the finding of the State Industrial Court in this respect is correct. It will therefore not be disturbed by this court.
WILLIAMS, C.J., and WELCH, DAVISON, HALLEY, JACKSON and IRWIN, JJ., concur.
BLACKBIRD, V.C.J., and JOHNSON and BERRY, JJ., dissent.