Appeal by defendants from the North Carolina Industrial Commission. Opinion and Award entered 20 January 1981. Heard in the Court of Appeals 4 February 1982.
Hill, Judge. Judge Becton concurs. Judge Hedrick concurs in the result.
The following facts found by Deputy Commissioner Bryant and affirmed by the Full Commission are pertinent to our decision:
3. Plaintiff's work and cotton dust exposure history are as follows:
[(a) October 5, 1939 to April 17, 1953
Roanoke #2 Mill of defendant employer; plaintiff was a laborer and scrubber and worked in the picker room, card room, spinning room, weave room and supply room while the mill was running. Cotton was processed in this mill at all times during this period. As a scrubber, plaintiff scooped up water as another worker ran a machine that cleaned the floors. The air in the picker room and card room was dusty with cotton dust in the air. Cotton dust blew off the machine in the areas where plaintiff scrubbed floors. The floors had been swept prior to plaintiff's scrubbing. Plaintiff was exposed to respirable cotton dust. The card room air was the dustiest and the air appeared foggy.]
(d) May 25, 1953 to January 26, 1970
Roanoke #1 Mill of defendant-employer; plaintiff was a sweeper in the spinning department. The mill processed cotton at all times during this period. Plaintiff swept the cotton dust and waste off the floors, blew off frames, spoolers and winders. Plaintiff picked up the cotton dust and waste by hand with a broom, bagged it and took it to the waste house. The air was dusty and linty with cotton dust most of the time. Sometimes plaintiff ran the elevator to go to the card
room and bring bagged cotton waste down and to haul cotton filling to the weave room and slasher room.
[Plaintiff swept most of the time. The air was extremely dusty when plaintiff blew off a certain number of frames once or twice in eight hours. Plaintiff was exposed to respirable cotton dust during this period of his employment with defendant-employer.]
Plaintiff stopped work because of his breathing problems and was totally and permanently disabled as a result of arteriosclerosis and byssinosis. Plaintiff did not retire until January 26, 1971 because he was hoping to get better and return to work, but he was not able to do so.]
6. On April 18, 1970, plaintiff was hospitalized by Dr. Frazier for chronic lung disease and arteriosclerotic heart disease with congestive heart failure. Plaintiff's breathing problems became progressively worse from this point. Plaintiff's nose and throat would get stopped up at night and plaintiff had to sit up until the symptoms, including chest tightness eased and until plaintiff would cough up sputum.]
9. Plaintiff suffers air flow obstruction and a limitation of his ability to improve oxygenation with exercise. Plaintiff overbreathes at rest. Plaintiff suffers from kyphosis (increase in chest diameter) because of overinflation from the lung disease and because of spine curvature with aging. Plaintiff also ...