Industrial Deafness Claim: How to show your employer is legally responsible to pay you compensation for occupational hearing loss and tinnitus
Industrial deafness claim solicitor sets out what occupational hearing loss and tinnitus is, how it is caused, how to show your employer is at fault and legally responsible for your workplace accident compensation claim.
What is an industrial deafness claim?
“Industrial deafness” is a hearing loss caused from exposure to loud noises at work – it is also known as
“occupational deafness” or “noise induced hearing loss”.
The word “deafness” includes:
1. Full hearing loss – without the use of a hearing aid you cannot hear anything at all.
2. Partial hearing loss – your hearing sensitivity has been reduced. You are unable to hear sounds below a certain volume or you may have lost the ability to hear certain sounds.
3. Several hearing conditions – such as tinnitus (a continuous buzzing sound in the ears).
The first symptoms of work related hearing loss include the difficulty in hearing voices where there is background noise – such as at a bar or party.
If your experience hearing problems from noise exposure and your employer can be shown to be at fault as a matter of law – you will likely be able to make an industrial deafness claim for compensation for your hearing damage and financial loss.
How is industrial deafness caused?
Industrial deafness can be caused from exposure to two main types of loud noise in the workplace:
1. Continuous loud noise
Continuous loud noise exposure at work can occur in many types of workplace.
For example, if you work in a factory with lots of machinery – quite often you will have experience of this type of noise.
If you are unable to hear a work mate speaking at a normal volume from 2 metres away – it is likely that the level of noise in your workplace is unsafe and may cause damage to your hearing.
2. A single very loud noise
If you work with jet engines or work in the demolition of buildings you may encounter explosive sounds in a single event, with noise levels so high that you can suffer hearing damage.
How do you show that noise in the workplace can cause industrial deafness ?
In 1963 it was recognised by the UK government in a guidance paper that exposure to noise at work could cause hearing problems.
Since that time all employers in control of noisy workplaces have been required to:
1. Measure the level of noise in the workplace on a regular basis.
2. If the level of noise in the workplace is too high – your employer must reduce it to a safe level
The government has set guidelines as to what is a safe level based on current scientific knowledge.
Your employer can reduce noise in the workplace by designing quieter machinery or using better sound insulation.
3. If it is not possible for the noise to be reduced to a safe level – your employer must provide you with adequate ear protection
Adequate protection might include: ear muffs or ear plugs, but should not only rely on these and where possible should reduce noise levels in the workplace by other means.
How do you show that your employer is responsible in the eyes of the law for your industrial deafness claim?
The UK law sets out the safe level of noise in the workplace which can be tested by a device known as an audiogram. If the noise levels are too high – your employer must provide you with hearing protection or he will most likely be responsible for your industrial deafness claim.
If your employer has provided you with hearing protection – his legal responsibility will depend upon whether the hearing protection was adequate. The fact that you have suffered hearing loss suggests that it was inadequate.
Taking into account the law as to noise levels – the same procedure as for a work injury claim can be followed to show your employer’s legal responsibility.
Can you still make an industrial deafness claim for compensation if you were provided with hearing protection but didn’t always use it?
In most cases the answer to this question is “yes” – especially if your supervisor knew that some employees did not use the ear protection.
Summary Of Industrial Deafness Claims & Next Steps
You now know what industrial deafness is, the duties on your employer to ensure that the noise levels at work will not cause hearing damage and how to show your employer is legally responsible for your compensation claim.
Click industrial dermatitis and other occupational injury to learn about the other common types of occupational disease – what they are and how to prove your employer’s legal responsibility for each.
Wanting To Make A Claim Or Have A Question?
We offer a number of free online specialist solicitor help / telephone assistance options – including discussing your own potential industrial deafness claim, asking a question or having your claim assessed.