Derby industrial deafness claim

The noise injury sustained usually takes the form of reduction of hearing (commonly in higher frequencies and typically in the 3–6 kHz range) and or tinnitus (buzzing, hissing, whooshing and/or whining noises in one or both ears).

Claims for noise induced hearing loss before 1990 must be founded in common law negligence or breach of general safety duties, such as s29 of the Factories Act 1961 .

In 1990 the first set of noise-specific safety regulations, the Noise at Work Regulations 1989, came into effect. Since 1993 the general ‘six pack’ regulatory framework, in particular the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, may also inform consideration of employer’s duties to protect against hazardous noise in the workplace.The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 is the most recent legislation.

The regulations work by establishing certain ‘action levels’ for differing requirements for protective action or avoidance of exposure.  The lower or first action level is 80 dB(A)and the second 85 dB(A). Once noise exposure is permitted at higher levels, liability is unlikely to be a contested.

NIHL is treated as a divisible cumulative injury, which means that compensation awarded may be apportioned as between successive causes from different tortfeasors and also from ‘non negligent’ exposures, either with employers prior to relevant dates of knowledge for liability, or in situations remote from the workplace such as noisy pop concerts.

In the absence of a detailed breakdown, if exposures with different employers have been roughly similar, a simple time-based apportionment by months or years of exposure out of the total hazardous exposure period is used.

If not detailed engineering evidence may be sought to provide a more accurate comparative analysis of the variation of exposure levels and cumulative noise doses.

Get in touch with Derby industrial deafness claim lawyers by e-mailing gary.dickie@btinternet.com , or ring us on 01332 518135 .