Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) is also known as Industrial Deafness or Occupational Deafness.
NIHL occurs as a result of exposure to noise over a prolonged period.
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), more than one million people are exposed to potentially damaging noise levels in their workplace.
The following industries are known to have exposed employees to excessive levels of noise:
Construction, Engineering, Textile Mills, Packaging Factories, Paper Mills, Mining, Tool Making, Car Manufacturing, Energy and Water Supply, Foundries, Steel Production.
Top tips for managing noise at work
- Consider the noise levels in the workplace and undertake a risk assessment.
- Implement noise reduction/control methods such as quieter equipment,
Sound proofing and limiting the time people spend in noisy areas.
- Regularly maintain machinery to help reduce noise and make noise levels a
Key consideration when purchasing new equipment.
- Provide personal hearing protectors if required, and ensure they are
maintained and that employees understand when and how to use them.
- Implement suitable health surveillance, for example hearing tests, if
assessments indicate that there is a risk to employees’ health.
- Keep up with best practice to ensure noise is controlled wherever possible.
The Claims Process
A claimant will have 3 years from the date of from the date they linked their hearing loss to exposure to noise.
A number of solicitors are now specialising in NIHL claims which is leading to a rapid increase in this type of claim being made.
The first point of call for a solicitor having taken instructions is to identify where the claimant has worked, claim letters will then be sent to the employer(s) where the claimant has worked during the period of exposure.
This will require the employer to identify the relevant insurers over the same period. Fortunately there is an Employers Liability Cover tracing website which will identify insurers but this will only go so far back.
Good Practice would be to keep Employers Liability Certificates going back 40 years either as archive or scanned copies. This will ensure that insurers can be identified easily and that the employer does not run the risk of self-insuring should the claim be successful.
For any further advice on this matter please contact Craig Proctor (JSW Claims Manager) on 01782 568723.