Who can you sue for noise-induced hearing loss?
The simple answer is whoever caused it. We often get asked if it’s possible to claim against specific employers when there is a belief that noise-induced hearing loss was acquired in that place of work. Our answer is largely always the same, you can claim against any employer as long as your hearing has suffered as a result of working there. This usually remains the case even if the place of employment has since closed down.
That said, your hearing is more likely to be impacted working in some areas as opposed to others. There may also be some limitations which we will also address.
Factories are loud by nature and quite often adequate hearing protection isn’t available. This was particularly the case many years ago when Health & Safety laws were infantile or even ignored. Due to the constant humming and rattling of loud machinery on the factory floor, it is little surprise that hearing loss can become an issue to those that spend most of the day in one.
Building sites are awash with loud noise. The sounds emitted from power tools, machinery and vehicles create a constant stream of loud noise throughout the day. It is of little surprise that many of our hearing loss clients spent years working in construction.
Military personnel spend many hours training on the firing range and therefore become exposed to the sound of fired weapons. There are thousands of military roles across HM Forces within the Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy and some of these specialist jobs can expose servicemen and servicewomen to even more loud noise. The rules on hearing loss claims do differ slightly when the employer was HM Forces. If the damage to the ears was caused prior to 1987, it’s not possible to claim.
Warehouses & Shipyards
The hustle and bustle of a busy warehouse or shipyard undoubtedly creates a noisy environment. Much like on a building site, vehicles and tools can generate well above the sound decibels required to negatively affect our hearing.
Like a factory, a mill is loud by nature due to the sounds emitted from the machinery necessary to carry out the work. This is typically consistent across all types of mill ranging from steel or textile to agricultural.
When it comes down to it, the law does not differentiate between types of work place or individual companies. If an employee suffers from noise-induced hearing loss because of the action or inaction of the employer, they may be entitled to compensation.
There are some potential restrictions to whether or not there is entitlement to compensation. For example, some self-employed people such as sole-trader contractors and musicians might be responsible for their own health & safety. Another restriction is if a claim has already been pursued in the past. The only way to be sure is to ask a solicitor. We offer free enquiries and can advise you in hardly any time at all. It never hurts to ask.
If you think you’re suffering from hearing loss due to loud noise at work, even if it was years ago or the company you worked for no longer exists, you might be entitled to compensation. You can learn more about our service here or contact us for a free, no obligation enquiry.