Too much exposure to high levels of noise in your workplace can cause irreversible hearing loss and is one of the most common health problems. It can be difficult to detect as the effects gradually build up over time. Across industry as a whole, industrial hearing loss has the highest number of civil claimants; accounting for around 75% of occupational disease claims.
The best way to avoid noise induced hearing loss becoming an issue for a business is to control the noise levels at source. When purchasing machinery or equipment it is crucial to obtain the noise data from the supplier so that thought can be given to the best way of eliminating dangerous noise levels before they become an issue. Noisy equipment should be located in areas away from workers, or at least away from populated areas – for example it could be located in a separate room or area, ideally in a sound-insulated enclosure. Sometimes enclosure is not possible, so perhaps the noise can be reduced using other means such as:
- Lining guards / panels with noise dampening material
- Providing acoustic screens
- Lining the inside of hoppers with impact deadening material
- Fitting anti-vibration mountings
- Fitting silencers to exhaust systems
- Ensuring good maintenance to stop rattles and prevent noise from wear and tear.
In some situations, even after all of the above has been implemented, there can still be high noise levels. Any workers who are exposed to noise above 85 decibels should be provided with ear protection and suitable training on how to use the protection provided.
Another danger is the duration of exposure to noise – to avoid this companies should look into job rotation and or providing a noise refuge for workers who spend more time in noisy situations.
If you have suffered from hearing loss as a result of your employment it is possible that you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation. Companies have a responsibility to prevent injury or illness among their employees, and if it can be proved that they have failed in their duty to do so, they have to accept the consequences and make up for pain or distress caused. Our solicitors have a great deal of experience in this complicated area of the law, so contact us today and see how we can help you get the compensation you deserve.