Industrial Deafness Claim
Hearing loss or deafness caused by an accident at work or the workplace is known as industrial deafness. Statistics show that over a million people in the UK alone are exposed to dangerous levels of noise at their place of work every year and this noise could have a major impact on their future health because it can cause irreversible hearing loss.
The one bit of good news is that if you suffer industrial deafness through no fault of your own, you should be able to claim personal injury compensation. This is because your employer is legally obliged to protect employees, in this case by preventing harm to their hearing and by taking adequate steps to reduce the risk of damage to their employees' hearing.
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How to recognise the symptoms of Industrial Deafness
Your hearing can be at risk if:-
- The workplace is noisy or has a continuous background noise, like a building site, factory or even a nightclub.
- You work with with noisy tools, such as power tools, or noisy machinery for more than half an hour per day.
- You can only hear others or make yourself heard if voices are raised.
- The workplace has impact or explosive noises like gun fire, explosions or hammering.
One sign of hearing damage is if you regularly go home with muffled hearing that seems to clear up overnight - a bit like when you go to a loud rock concert! You may also suffer from tinnitus, which is a whistling, ringing or buzzing noise in the ear and which can be the first sign of damage to your hearing.
The 2005 Control of Noise at Work Regulations outline the steps that employers must take to reduce the risk of damage to employees' hearing:-
- Identify any risks to hearing in the workplace by carrying out a proper risk assessment.
- Taking the appropriate steps to deal with or reduce these identified risks - By muffling the noise in some way or reducing exposure time.
- If the workplace noise cannot be reduced, the employer should issue employees with noise protection.
- Ensure that noise levels in the workplace are kept within the legal limits.
- Areas that are particularly noisy, over 90dBA, should be designated as "ear protection zones", where ear protection MUST be worn, and in areas where levels are between 85dBA and 90dBA employees should be given ear protection if they request it.
- Make sure that all employees know about the risks to their hearing and also know how to minimise the risks.
- Carry out health surveillance checks on employees who are at risk or who have been at risk.
Making an Industrial Deafness Compensation Claim
If your employer has breached these regulations in any way and you have suffered hearing loss as a result then you should consult a no win no fee injury lawyer who has experience in claiming for industrial diseases or work accidents. They will be able to advise you and take your case forward.
Losing your hearing or suffering with tinnitus can have a major impact on your quality of life, your career and future employment prospects. Not only does it affect your physical health but hearing loss of any kind will also have a psychological effect, making you feel isolated and depressed.
If your employer has ignored the regulations and you have suffered industrial deafness as a result of this, then you should be able to claim personal injury compensation for your hearing loss. Although this compensation cannot make everything right again, it can give you a better quality of life, pay for any medical treatment you need, make up for lost earnings and potential future earnings, and provide for your family and dependants.
An audiogram may be recommended to prove the cause of your hearing loss. This test can show whether your hearing loss is noise induced and so can be vital evidence in your compensation claim. A specialist no win no fee personal injury lawyer will be able to assess your claim, give you personal advice and help you claim the compensation you deserve. Get legal advice as soon as you possibly can after you notice your hearing problems.
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