According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) the average number of cases of noise induced hearing loss caused or made worse by working conditions between the ears of 2009/10 to 2011/12 is 19,000 cases. This is a significantly high number considering that industrial deafness is a condition which can be easily avoided within the workplace.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1978 states that an employer must take relevant steps in order to protect their employees from the risks of hearing impairment when they are exposed to excessively loud noise on a continuous basis. This can include providing their employees with hearing protection such as earplugs or ear defenders, soundproofing their machinery where possible and providing training to all of their employees and any visitors to the premises on the dangers of exposure to excessive noise. They must also place signs around the building so that any person on the premises is made aware when they are entering an excessively noisy zone.
There are primarily two different ways in which you may be able to receive compensation if you believe that you are deaf or suffering from hearing loss as a result of any work that you are carrying out or have carried out in the past. The first of this is to apply for an industrial injuries disablement benefit. To be eligible for this you must have been employed within England, Scotland or Wales, however there can be some exceptions to this rule so it is best to seek the advice from the regional industrial injuries disablement benefit Centre. IIDB is a type of compensation which is paid out on a weekly basis and the amount which you could receive will depend entirely on your own personal circumstances. To be eligible for compensation you will have to be assessed by medical adviser and your hearing loss will be placed on a scale between 1% and 100%. As a general rule you would need to be assessed as 40% disabled or more to be able to get the benefit.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) state that around 150 new claims for noise induced hearing loss disablement benefit where assessed within 2011 and since the year of 2007, all new cases have been a while to males. The industries with the largest number of new cases where employees have become deaf or suffered from hearing loss includes: energy and water supply, manufacturing, construction and extraction.
The other way in which you can also receive compensation if you are deaf or suffering from hearing loss as a result of working in an excessively noisy environment is to consult with a no win no fee solicitors firm who specialise in claiming for compensation for industrial diseases. It is highly advisable to seek the help of a solicitor who work on a no win no fee basis so that you are not at risk of having any outstanding fees should your case be unsuccessful. You should also consult with a solicitors firm who specialise within the field of compensation claims for industrial disease, this way you can be assured that you have the best possible chance of making a successful claim.
UK law states that any employer has a duty of care towards their employees and any visitors to their site. The employer must carry out a regular risk assessment so that they can clearly assess the level of noise of which the employees are consistently exposed to. Following any risk assessment an employer must than act upon any recommendations that are provided, such as installing soundproofing for any machinery. If an employer is aware of any hazardous areas where excessive noise is a problem that can be a risk to their employees and fail to take any preventative measures then they are fully liable should an employee become deaf or developing a hearing loss as a result of this.
If you are considering contacting a no win no fee compensation claims solicitor in order to start your claim for your hearing loss then it is important to have the following information available, as they will ask you some basic questions in order to determine your eligibility to make a claim. For example:
• Who were you working for when you were exposed to the excessively loud noise?
• How long were you working for the company?
• Have you sought any form of medical advice for your hearing problems?
• Did any symptoms of your hearing impairment get reported to your employer?
• Do you believe that your employer was in anyway negligent towards your health and safety at work? For example did they fail to provide you with any form of hearing protection or train you on the risks of working in an area where you were exposed to excessively loud noise?
• Have you made any attempt in the past to claim compensation for your hearing loss?
During your free initial consultation the solicitor will usually ask you the basic questions above and from your response to these questions, they will then be able to assess whether you are eligible to make a compensation claim or not. Following this you will then be able to make a decision on whether you wish to proceed with your compensation claim.
The amount of compensation which you may be eligible for will depend entirely on your own personal circumstances, for example how long you were exposed to the excessive loud noise for, the severity of your condition e.g. whether you are completely deaf or suffer from minor hearing loss and whether your employer is seen to have been in in anyway negligent towards your health and safety at work. If you believe that you have become deaf and you now suffer from hearing loss as a result of the work you have carried out in a noisy industry than it is important to seek the advice from a trained compensation claim solicitor as soon as possible.