Health and Safety update: Defend your business against industrial deafness claims

If you’re reading this, it’s very likely that your business produces very high volume levels. This is wonderful for your customers; the noise and atmosphere is what brings them through your doors.

But it’s not necessarily all that great for your employees. It’s possible that these noise levels will have a long-term effect on anyone who is subjected to them on an ongoing basis. E.G the people who work in your venue.

In fact, there has been a stark warning recently from the Association of British Insurers who say that claims for industrial deafness have surged since 2009. As a claim type, it’s even been referred to as the new whiplash.

You’ll remember that we wrote a blog not long ago about the acoustic shock case brought by Goldsheider against the Royal Opera House. Hearing and deafness claims like this are set to be commonplace in the coming years.

It’s important, for your sake and the health of your employees, that you take proper precautions to protect the hearing of your staff. Remember, the popularity in industrial deafness claims is quite possibly to do with the difficulty in clear diagnosis (as with Whiplash) so it’s not easy to disprove a claim. It’s true that currently, the majority of industrial deafness claims are rejected, but you don’t want to put yourself in the situation. After all, the average settlement fee in industrial deafness cases is £10,500.

Your best defence is in being proactive, and putting the proper risk management procedures in a case.

Unlike many other industries, you don’t have the option of simply reducing the noise levels. However, you can detect which areas of your venue are worst affected and ensure that staff are rotated frequently so they aren’t subjected to high noise levels throughout every shift.

You should also supply the proper equipment such as earplugs, and make it a necessity that all staff MUST wear them.

It’s imperative that any and all risk management checks and procedures are properly documents. You should be able to evidence all reasonable precautions.

If you’d like any more information on hearing-related claims, or how to properly protect against them, get in touch with our risk management team today. You can contact them by filling in the contact form on this website.