Maintenance Electrician Wins Compensation for Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Electrician Compensation
LLB (Hons) & LPC Stacy Pimlott
Case by: LLB (Hons) & LPC Stacy Pimlott

AWH has helped a maintenance electrician win compensation for noise induced hearing loss, after he sustained damage during his career at British Steel.

What was the case?

Our client was employed by British Steel as a maintenance electrician from 1977, until approximately 2001, where he was exposed to noise from the production plant which consisted of a melting shop, rolling mills, bar mills, industrial grinding and cutting machines, a central engineering workshop and a warehouse.

As a result of this noise the Claimant developed Noise Induced Hearing Loss which amounted to a 12 dB of hearing loss. An engineer’s report was received and this determined that the defendant should have known about the noise damage earlier than most legislation. This was considered to be special knowledge. Ultimately, the matter settled a month before the trial.

What is noise induced hearing loss?

Noise -induced hearing loss is when the tiny hair cells in your ears (stereocilia) are permanently damaged as the result of loud sounds. Hazardous levels of noise produce vibrations in the hair cells that are so powerful that they are damaging.

Some of the symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss are:

  • It being harder to hear high-frequency sounds. This is easy to detect with a hearing test that can be charted on an audiogram. It will show a dip to the right – this is known as a noise-notch pattern.
  • It is harder to hear speech, especially words with ‘s’, ‘f’, ‘sh’ and ‘th’ sounds in them. You may have trouble understanding what people are saying, even if they raise their voice.
  • Pain in your ears following loud noise exposure.
  • Other people comment that you’re talking loudly or shouting.
  • You experience tinnitus – ringing, whoosing, roaring or buzzing sounds in your ears.
  • You may experience diplacusis, or ‘double hearing.’

How can noise induced hearing loss be avoided?

Generally, it is advised that you are not exposed to any sound above 85 decibels for a sustained period of time. Some jobs that have been identified as placing workers most at risk include:

  • Agriculture
  • Construction and Carpentry
  • The military
  • Mining and oil and gas extraction

In addition to the generalised symptoms, noise induced hearing loss can also led to:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Isolation due to struggling to hear others
  • Depression due to hearing loss
  • Increased heart rate

Read more on our industrial hearing loss claims page

Employer’s Duty of Care

It is always an employer’s duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees and any other people who might be affected by their business. They must do whatever is reasonable to achieve this. This means ensuring that workers and others are protected from anything that may cause harm, effectively controlling any risks to injury or health that could arise in the workplace. Your employer should always:

  • Carry out risk assessments to address any harm that could occur in the workplace, such as noise induced hearing loss.
  • Consult employees on health and safety issues. Consultation must be either direct or through a safety representative that is either elected by the workforce or appointed by a trade union.
  • Give you information about how to assess risks in your workplace and how you are protected, also instruct and train you on how to deal with the risks.

If you have been involved in a similar situation that you think that you may need legal assistance with, then we can help you. Get in touch with our experts today.

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