Workers' Compensation Act.
§97-53. Occupational diseases enumerated; when due to
exposure to chemicals.
The following diseases and conditions only shall be deemed to
be occupational diseases within the meaning of this Article:
- Arsenic poisoning.
- Brass poisoning.
- Zinc poisoning.
- Manganese poisoning.
- Lead poisoning. Provided the employee shall have been exposed
to the hazard of lead poisoning for at least 30 days in the preceding
12 months' period; and, provided further, only the employer in
whose employment such employee was last injuriously exposed shall
- Mercury poisoning.
- Phosphorus poisoning.
- Poisoning by carbon bisulphide, menthanol, naphtha or volatile
- Chrome ulceration.
- Compressed-air illness.
- Poisoning by benzol, or by nitro and amido derivatives of
benzol (dinitrolbenzol, anilin, and others).
- Any disease other than hearing loss covered in another subdivision
of this section, which is proven to be due to causes and conditions
which are characteristic of and peculiar to a particular trade,
occupation or employment, but excluding all ordinary diseases
of life to which the general public is equally exposed outside
of the employment.
- Epitheliomatous cancer or ulceration of the skin or of the
corneal surface of the eve due to tar, pitch, bitumen, mineral
oil, or paraffin, or any compound, product, or residue of any
of these substances.
- Radium poisoning or disability or death due to radioactive
properties of substances or to roentgen rays, X rays or exposure
to any other source of radiation; provided, however, that the
disease under this subdivision shall be deemed to have occurred
on the date that disability or death shall occur by reason of
- Blisters due to use of tools or appliances in the employment.
- Bursitis due to intermittent pressure in the employment.
- Miner's nystagmus.
- Bone felon due to constant or intermittent pressure in employment.
- Synovitis, caused by trauma in employment.
- Tenosynovitis, caused by trauma in employment.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Poisoning by sulphuric, hydrochloric or hydrofluoric acid.
- Undulant fever.
- Loss of hearing caused by harmful noise in the employment.
The following rules shall be applicable in determining eligibility
for compensation and the period during which compensation shall
- The term "harmful noise" means sound in employment
capable of producing occupational loss of hearing as hereinafter
defined. Sound of an intensity of less than 90 decibels, A scale,
shall be deemed incapable of producing occupational loss of hearing
as defined in this section.
- "Occupational loss of hearing" shall mean a permanent
sensorineural loss of hearing in both ears caused by prolonged
exposure to harmful noise in employment. Except in instances of
preexisting loss of hearing due to disease, trauma, or congenital
deafness in one ear no compensation shall be payable under this
subdivision unless prolonged exposure to harmful noise in employment
has caused loss of hearing in both ears as hereinafter provided.
- No compensation benefits shall be payable for temporary total
or temporary partial disability under this subdivision and there
shall be no award for tinnitus or a psychogenic hearing loss.
- An employer shall become liable for the entire occupational
hearing loss to which his employment has contributed, but if previous
deafness is established by a hearing test or other competent evidence,
whether or not the employee was exposed to harmful noise within
six months preceding such test, the employer shall not he liable
for previous loss so established, nor shall he be liable for any
loss for which compensation has previously been paid or awarded
and the employer shall be liable only for the difference between
the percent of occupational hearing loss determined as of the
date of disability as herein defined and the percentage of loss
established by the preemployment and audiometric examination excluding,
in any event, hearing losses arising from nonoccupational causes.
- In the evaluation of occupational hearing loss, only the hearing
levels at the frequencies of 500, 1,000, 2,000, and 3,000 cycles
per second shall be considered. Hearing losses for frequencies
below 500 and above 3,000 cycles per second are not to be considered
as constituting compensable hearing disability.
- The employer liable for the compensation in this section shall
be the employer in whose employment the employee was last exposed
to harmful noise in North Carolina during a period of 90 working
days or parts thereof, and an exposure during a period of less
than 90 working days or parts thereof shall held not to be an
injurious exposure; provided, however, that in the event an insurance
carrier has been on the risk for a period to time during which
an employee has been injuriously exposed to harmful noise, and
if after insurance carrier goes off the risk said employee has
been further exposed to harmful noise, although not exposed for
90 working days or parts thereof so as to constitute an injurious
exposure, such carrier shall, nevertheless, be liable.
- The percentage of hearing loss shall be calculated as the average,
in decibels, of the thresholds of hearing for the frequencies
of 500, 1,000, 2,000, and 3,000 cycles per second. Pure tone air
conduction audiometric instruments, properly calibrated according
to accepted national standards such as American Standards Association,
Inc., (ASA), International Standards Organization (ISO), or American
National Standards Institute, Inc., (ANSI), shall be used for
measuring hearing loss. If more than one audiogram is taken, the
audiogram having the lowest threshold will be used to calculate
occupational hearing loss. If the losses of hearing average 15
decibels (26 db if ANSI or ISO) or less in the four frequencies,
such losses of hearing shall not constitute any compensable hearing
disability. If the losses of hearing average 82 decibels (93 db
if ANSI or ISO) or more in the four frequencies, then the same
shall constitute and be total or one hundred percent (100%) compensable
hearing loss. In measuring hearing impairment, the lowest measured
losses in each of the four frequencies shall be added together
and divided by four to determine the average decibel loss. For
each decibel of loss exceeding 15 decibels (26 db if ANSI or ISO)
an allowance of one and one-half percent (1 1/2%) shall be made
up to the maximum of one hundred percent (100%) which is reached
at 82 decibels (93 db if ANSI or ISO). In determining the binaural
percentage of loss, the percentage of impairment in the better
ear shall be multiplied by five. The resulting figure shall be
added to the percentage of impairment in the poorer ear, and the
sum of the two divided by six. The final percentage shall represent
the binaural hearing impairment.
- There shall be payable for total occupational loss of hearing
in both ears 150 weeks of compensation, and for partial occupational
loss of hearing in both ears such proportion of these periods
of payment as such partial loss bears to total loss.
- No claim for compensation for occupational hearing loss shall
be filed until after six months have elapsed since exposure to
harmful noise with the last employer. The last day of such exposure
shall be the date of disability. The regular use of employer-provided
protective devices capable of presenting loss of hearing from
the particular harmful noise where the employee works shall constitute
removal from exposure to such particular harmful noise.
- No consideration shall be given to the question of whether
or not the ability of an employee to understand speech is improved
by the use of a hearing aid. The North Carolina Industrial Commission
may order the employer to provide the employee with an original
hearing aid if it will materially improve the employee's ability
- No compensation benefits shall be payable for the loss of hearing
caused by harmful noise after October 1, 1971, if employee fails
to regularly utilize employer-provided protection device or devices,
capable of preventing loss of hearing from the particular harmful
noise where the employee works.
- Infection with smallpox, infection with vaccinia, or any adverse medical
reaction when the infection or adverse reaction is due to the employee
receiving in employment vaccination against smallpox incident to the
Administration of Smallpox Countermeasures by Health Professionals, section
304 of the Homeland Security Act, Pub. L. No. 107-296 (Nov. 25, 2002)(to be
codified at 42 U.S.C. § 233(p)), or when the infection or adverse medical
reaction is due to the employee being exposed to another employee vaccinated
as described in this subdivision..
Occupational diseases caused by chemicals shall be deemed to be
due to exposure of an employee to the chemicals herein mentioned
only when as a part of the employment such employee is exposed
to such chemicals in such form and quantity, and used with such
frequency as to cause the occupational disease mentioned in connection
with such chemicals. (1935, c. 123; 1949, c. 1078; 1953, c. 1112;
1955, c. 1026, s. 10; 1957, c. 1396, s. 6; 1963, c. 553, s. 1;
c. 965; 1971, c. 547, s. 1; c. 1108, s. 1; 1973, c. 760, ss. 1,
2; 1975, c. 718, s. 4; 1987, c. 729, ss. 11, 12; 1991, c. 703,
s. 10; 2003.)
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of Contents page for Chapter 97. Workers' Compensation Act.
Text of Chapter 97. Workers' Compensation Act.
N.C. Industrial Commission ·
4340 Mail Service Center ·
Raleigh, NC 27699-4340
Main Telephone: (919) 807-2500 ·
Fax: (919) 715-0282
NCIC Home Page: http://www.ic.nc.gov/