According to the Judicial Studies Board Guidelines, if an employee suffers hearing loss caused by noise in the workplace, he or she could be entitled to the following based on the seriousness of the injury. These figures exclude loss of earnings and other expenses:
Mr NG from Cambridgeshire worked for 26 years in the fire service. He developed hearing loss and tinnitus and was awarded £17,500
Mr SW from Plymouth worked as a telecoms engineer for 18 years. He suffered with hearing loss and was awarded £15,000
Mr AS from Staffordshire worked as a fabricator for 19 years and developed hearing loss and was awarded £15,000
Mr WD from Mansfield worked for 14 years as a fitter and developed hearing loss and was awarded £14,400
Noise induced hearing loss can be caused by prolonged exposure to excessive noise, and if this is experienced in the workplace, the employer could be found to be at fault. This is because employers have a legal duty to provide a safe place of work. This includes ensuring that either noise is kept at safe levels or if this is not possible, then to provide hearing protection to employees.
The employer is also legally required to have insurance cover, which means that the insurance company also requires their insureds to do all in their power to ensure that they are not subject to claims that might be made against them due to unsafe work practices.
As a rule of thumb, if you have to raise your voice to speak to someone two metres away from you, it is likely the noise in your workplace is exceeding regulations.
An employee is able to make a workplace hearing loss claim after he or she has left a particular company, and they do not need to have had medical treatment for hearing loss in order to make a claim.
So the onus is firmly on the employer not only to protect their staff, but also to be able to prove whether or not their hearing loss was caused whilst they were working for this particular company during this particular time.