Noise and Hearing Impairment
It is estimated that more than one million people are at risk of developing hearing problems because of their work. Noise induced deafness and Tinnitus are the most common conditions caused by noisy workplaces.
Noise induced deafness normally involves gradual loss of hearing over long periods of exposure, often many years. This type of hearing loss is permanent and, coupled with the effects of the natural ageing process, can cause a significant disability.
Tinnitus is a condition whereby the sufferer experiences noises in the ears such as ringing, whistling and buzzing. In extreme cases this is permanent and can be very distressing.
The Noise at Work Regulations 2005 impose duties on employers to ensure that the hearing of their employees is not damaged by noise. Specifically, the Regulations give "action levels" which means that if noise reaches a certain decibel level, action must be taken.
The first action level is that of a daily average workplace noise of 80dB. If a workplace is such that an employee is exposed to this level of noise on a daily basis, then employers require to provide information to their employees about the dangers of noise and make hearing protection available.
The next action level is that of an average workplace noise of 85dB. If workplace noise exceeds this level then hearing protection must be issued and the wearing of this must be enforced by the employer.
The employees must also be given specific information indicating that hearing protection must be worn whenever they are exposed to noise at this level.
The Regulations also provide that average noise levels must never exceed 87dB.
The Regulations also oblige employers to make all reasonable efforts to minimise the level of noise at work before implementing hearing protection measures. This might involve the use of silencers on certain types of work equipment or noise absorption panels.
If you think that your hearing has been damaged by noise at work you should seek legal advice without delay as the law imposes strict time limits which must be adhered to. Contact our No Win No Fee Lawyers today for free legal advice or complete the compensation claim form below.
Compensation Claim Form