Hearing loss: when your employer may be liable
Hearing loss at work hit the headlines recently when a former viola player sought to sue the Royal Opera House for damage to his hearing, allegedly caused when he was positioned too close to the brass section in the orchestra while rehearsing for Wagners Die Walküre in 2012.
While most people are not forced to sit next to trombones and trumpets as part of their job, many employees are exposed to noisy work environments which can cause hearing damage. Katherine Flashman Kitson, Director and Head of Litigation at Parnalls Solicitors, explains when a compensation claim for hearing loss may be possible.
‘Employers have a legal duty to identify and minimise the risk of personal injury to employees, and this extends to protecting them from the risk of hearing damage caused by exposure to excessive noise levels’, explains Katherine
What steps must my employer take?
Your employer is obliged to take all reasonable steps to prevent or reduce the risk of you being injured or falling ill as a result of exposure to noise while at work. This includes:
- carrying out assessments to identify potential noise risks;
- taking steps to eliminate those risks or, where this is not possible, to reduce the likelihood of those risks materialising and causing harm;
- providing protective equipment in appropriate cases;
- supplying information and training on the use of protective equipment and on safe systems of working more generally;
- ensuring any noise levels that cannot be avoided are kept within recommended daily and weekly limits; and
- monitoring noise levels where an identified risk of hearing damage has been noted.
How do I distinguish between ‘normal’ noise and noise that may be harmful?
Damage to your hearing can be caused by a one-off, excessively loud noise or by continuous exposure to a lower level of noise over a prolonged period. Examples of types of noise that may pose a danger, include:
- loud bangs caused by an explosion, gun shots or hammering;
- loud bursts of noise caused by the operation of power tools and other machinery;
- prolonged or intrusive noise associated with traditionally noisy industries, such as construction and agriculture;
- prolonged or intrusive noise associated with certain work environments, such as nightclubs or children’s nurseries; and
- background noise levels that mean you need to raise your voice to carry on a conversation.
How can I tell if my hearing has been affected?
The most obvious sign that your hearing may have been affected is if you struggle to hear as well as you used to, or if you suddenly find that you can hear little if anything at all. However, there are other signs that something may be wrong, such as the onset of tinnitus which causes a debilitating continuous ringing in the ear, or the development of acoustic shock with has a range of symptoms including dizziness, muffled hearing and numbness or a burning sensation around the ear.
What should I do if my hearing has been damaged?
If you believe your hearing has been damaged as a result of your work environment, you should contact our personal injury solicitors who are experienced in handling work-based hearing loss claims, also known as ‘industrial deafness’ or ‘occupational deafness’.
They will assess your case and advise you on whether a claim may be possible and, if so, on how much compensation you are likely to receive. You should not delay in seeking advice as there are time limits for making a claim. Do not be put off seeking advice because the employer you believe was responsible is no longer in business: in cases like this, it is usually possible for a claim to be brought against their insurers.
If you need help with a hearing loss claim, or any other personal injury matter, please contact Katherine Flashman Kitson on 01566 772375 or email email@example.com
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.
Preparing to sell your Launceston property
Staying safer in video meetings
Making Sure Your Great New Home Comes With Clean Air
Property Market Re-Opens in England
Coronavirus: Wills and Powers of Attorney FAQ
Medical Care Received Not Up to Scratch?
Had an Accident in Someone's Home?
Accident or Injury Involving a Dog?
Social Distancing No Obstacle for Parnall's Mobile Document Signing Team
Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Commercial Property Legal FAQs
Rent Charge Suspensions: Protecting Your Interests
Been Asked to Sign an Employment Settlement Agreement? Seek Advice Urgently...
Services Update: Continuity of Legal Service Provision
Advising You in Uncertain Times
Could carelessness on social media land you in court?
Is an electronic signature on a commercial property document acceptable?
What happens when there is no health & care LPA in place
Social Media Training for Businesses
Information to gather for your probate solicitor
Gazundering, what it is and how to avoid it
Relief from forfeiture – what happens if the tenant forgets to pay the rent?
Not so safe at work - compensation for an accident at work
New organ donation law: giving you control
Running a business from home
Have nude photos of you or your teenager been posted online?
Landowners’ rights and the Electronic Communications Code
Building in your back garden
Christmas is a time for giving (and inheritance planning)
Buying the freehold of your leasehold house
Redeveloping an empty pub for commercial use
Why it takes time to obtain the Grant of Probate
Social Media: The unconscious privacy threat
Is your reputation being threatened?
Making a will after your spouse or partner has died
Interns celebrate completion of internship at solicitors
Selling your home in a flat market, some top tips
Claiming compensation for a serious road traffic accident
New Media and Communications Court list reflects surge in internet defamation claims by Laura Baglow
Has your personal information been shared without your permission?
Planning your escape to the country, what you need to consider – part 2
Government consultation on new national model for shared ownership
Choosing a partnership structure
Planning for what happens when you die by Deborah Adams
Changes to legislation could offer protection for tenants in the private rental sector
Move to the country - Part One
The risks of DIY probate
Will your septic tank still be legal in January?
The death knell for ‘kiss and tell’?
Making a will when you retire
Selling your property at auction
Not looking so good - your guide to compensation for botched non-surgical cosmetic procedures
New threshold of seriousness in defamation proceedings
Legal considerations when building a granny annex
Choosing the right person for your power of attorney
Formal Interviews - Do you need legal representation?
Privacy rights and aerial images
Trustees’ duty to give information to beneficiaries
Five problems with a leasehold property
Taking your first commercial lease
Is your organisation protected from employee social media legal risk?
Have you been targeted by negative social media posts?
Farmers be alert when being inspected
Help for House Sellers?
Don’t let your digital assets end up in a digital grave
Valuing an estate for probate
Development proposals and your local authority search
What can you do if your child is injured in a serious accident
NetRights welcomes new protection for social media users
SHOULD I GET A LAWYER FOR A SPEEDING OFFENCE?
Supreme Court recognises that social media is a “casual medium” in libel battle
Choosing the best conveyancer who is right for you
Making a will after a second or subsequent marriage
Option or promotion agreement – which is best for landowners?
Anonymous pub and restaurant online reviews leave a bad taste
Have you had an accident involving a horse?
Help to Buy – beware of some cracks in the structure
Understanding Lasting Powers of Attorney
Changes to Energy Performance Certificate for Landlords
Had a cycling accident? Your route to obtaining compensation
New year, new home: tips to sell your home in the New Year
Tax Planning for your inheritance
Hearing loss: when your employer may be liable
Buying a home for your retirement, five things you need to consider
Farmers plan to diversify after Brexit
Ministers press ahead with probate fee shake-up - reports BBC News
Botched dental treatment? You may be entitled to compensation
Why a Health and Welfare Power of Attorney is a good idea
Will the new charge on building developments in Cornwall affect you?
Energy Performance Certificates – Do They Matter?
HMRC Challenging Stamp Duty Land Tax Payments
Ben Mitchell qualifies as a solicitor
The potential implications of Brexit on employment law
Appointing a guardian for your children
Houses in multiple occupation – new rules from October 2018
New Agriculture Bill published
Will Brexit affect my pension?
Dreaming of a holiday home? Sort out the legals before putting your feet up
Lasting Power of Attorney by Deborah Adams
Settled status after Brexit by Alexis Hager
How to choose an executor to administer your estate when you die
How overage agreements can boost profits from your land
Top tips for first-time buyers
How Could Brexit Affect My Farm?
Wills & Succession in Spain by Deborah Adams
Brexit – an international and local view by Alexis Hager, Litigation
Capital gains tax - important facts for non-residents of the UK
Buying a home: the importance of making sure the seller is entitled to sell
Changing a will after someone has died: it is possible and it could save you money
Your responsibilities when you have people working in your home
Sad passing of Battle of Britain pilot who served with Parnall family member
Considerations when buying a heritage property
Disciplinary proceedings at work: guide for employers
Employers should have a disciplinary process in place, but just following this may not be enough to avoid falling foul of the law and exposing yourself to the risk of an employment tribunal claim.