Industrial deafness can also be referred to as occupational deafness or noise induced hearing loss. This condition, usually over a period of time, results in the loss of hearing caused by a person’s working environment. The loss of hearing can be temporary or permanent. Tinnitus and acoustic shock syndrome can also develop as a result of exposure to noise in the workplace. It is worth bearing in mind, however, that you are only able to claim for tinnitus if it accompanies another hearing loss condition – you are currently not able to claim for tinnitus alone.
The loss of a person’s hearing, whether it be temporary or permanent, can be a frightening experience and have a big impact on your quality of life. Every employer has a duty of care to all employees to ensure their safety at work and this includes protecting workers from having to endure high levels of noise in the workplace. The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 is an Act which was brought in to protect employees and provide instructions to employers to safeguard employees.
Who is at risk?
According to the Health and Safety Executive approximately 1 million employees in the UK are currently at risk of developing industrial deafness and below we have listed a few employment types, but not all, in which you are most likely to be at risk:-
1. Call centres
5. Furniture manufacturing
8. Motor vehicles
Employers Duty of Care
As mentioned above, employers must safeguard their employees from excessive exposure to noise in the workplace and the following should be undertaken:-
• Full risk assessment
• Act to reduce any noise exposure risk identified
• Provide employees with correct personal protective equipment including ear protection
• Ensure legal limits on noise exposure are not exceeded
• Provide employees with information, training and awareness
• Carry out health surveillance where there is a risk to health.
Making a claim
There are many reasons why you can be affected by deafness and not always is the workplace to blame, however, if you feel your hearing has suffered as a result of the work you do it is worth considering making a claim. Compensation awards can vary greatly for this type of claim depending on the length and severity of the hearing loss but to give you an idea the figures can range between £3,000 and £60,000.
It can be extremely difficult to make an industrial deafness claim as it can be hard to prove so we strongly recommend seeking professional legal advice from specialist solicitors such as Russell Worth. We are here to help and would be happy to engage in a free, no obligation chat, during which we can advise you on whether or not you have a possible claim and what is the best way forward.
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