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Can you combat industrial deafness?
This includes wearing hearing protection, to be mindful of prolonged exposure to high noise levels that can permanently damage your hearing and to reduce the volume or increase the distance of unavoidable work related noise.
Garret Spring, Solicitor and Head of Occupational Illness said, “Actually the employer’s duty where possible is to eradicate excessive noise levels and where this is not possible to reduce those noise levels to the lowest level reasonably practicable.
‘The employer should also concentrate upon avoiding its workforce being exposed to loud sound, before then reducing that exposure if avoidance is impossible. Whilst the provision of effective hearing protection, coupled with training as to its use and as to the dangers associated with exposure to excessive noise is important, it must be emphasised that this is a last resort.
‘Too often employers simply provide hearing protection and believe that they have complied with their duty to their workers. Excessive noise at work is not taken seriously enough probably because the effects of loud sound upon the hearing or not usually immediately noticeable. The person whose hearing has been damaged will often not be aware of this until many years after he has left the company where he was exposed to the noise.”
The article further reported how an estimated 275 million people across the globe cannot hear clearly, claiming it as the number one sensory disability in the world. This is a truly shocking statistic.
It’s true that some people were born deaf and others have had major illnesses, such as meningitis, measles or ear infections that may have caused hearing loss. The point about noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) is that it is preventable. No one should be suffering from hearing loss caused by noise.
In the UK noise at work is governed by the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005. Employers duties clearly set out in the regulations and more information can be found on the HSE website http://www.hse.gov.uk/
It is the employers’ responsibility to put preventative measures in place for their staff, contractors or visitors who may be affected by exposure to loud sounds over a period of time.
Garret continues “In short, there is no excuse in this day and age, for people at work to be exposed to excessive noise. Industrial deafness can be prevented by an employer complying with its duties and being proactive in the management of risks associated with noise in its workplace.
‘Sadly, together with my colleagues, we have represented thousands of people who have suffered damage to their hearing including tinnitus, because they have been failed by their employers. My clients have of course included telecoms engineers, but have also come from a wide range of different employments, including the construction industry, local authorities, manufacturing industries, armed services and many more.”
‘It is important to understand that the law here in the UK states that you need to bring your case to court within 3 years of being aware that you had a hearing problem otherwise your claim may be out of time.
Kiki Farr - NewLaw Solicitors
0845 521 0945