Co-written by Mai O’Regan.
Industrial deafness can be a hindrance to a person’s everyday life. Whilst safety regarding hearing in the workplace has greatly improved, what about those who are already suffering?
What Have You Heard?
Industrial deafness is when deafness is caused or has further degraded, as a result of working in a noisy environment at work. This may present itself through gradual hearing loss or ringing in the ears.
Industrial deafness claims are dealt with through the workers’ compensation scheme. To have a successful claim, the hearing loss must have occurred during the course of the worker’s employment. The worker’s conditions must have caused the onset of deafness. If there is an evident link between the hearing loss and the person’s work (known as “causation”), then a lump-sum compensation and hearing aids may be awarded.
A worker who is claiming compensation or hearing aids must demonstrate that the hearing loss is a result of the worker’s employment.
A recent 2019 case of Bluescope Steel and its worker, Mr Sekulovski highlighted the issue of causation under the Workers Compensation Act 1987. For over 35 years, Mr Sekulovski was exposed to noise during his employment. However, it was only 10 years after his employment that he saw an Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist who notified him of his need to obtain hearing aids. Even though there was a binding Medical Assessment Certificate stating he had only 1.9% hearing loss in 2002, the Court of Appeal accepted that the new medical evidence showing a 7.1% loss can be accepted in place of the Certificate initially provided by the Commission.
This provides an extended avenue for workers suffering from industrial deafness as it allows them to pursue a claim for their hearing loss, even when they are no longer working.
If you have suffered hearing loss due to your working conditions, you may be entitled to claim compensation and expenses. The severity of the impairment will greatly impact the amount of compensation awarded.
Quick Snapshot: What Can You Claim?
- Lump-sum compensation.
- Hearing aids
- Any medical and hospital expenses.
- Travelling expenses.
- Rehabilitation expenses.
- Medical devices and equipment.
- Return to work services.
If you are suffering from industrial deafness and it is affecting your everyday quality of life, we are here to provide support. At Coutts, our personal injury team is experienced in matters like these and is dedicated to providing the best service possible.
ABOUT KARENA NICHOLLS:
Karena is a Partner at Coutts and is the Head of our Injury Compensation (with extensive knowledge in personal injury) and Employment Law teams. She is passionate and dedicated to helping her clients understand their rights and obligations and advising them on the best course of action to achieve their desired outcomes. It is her practical and client-orientated approach that has attributed to her authentic reputation positioning her as a highly regarded compensation and employment lawyer.
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This blog is merely general and non-specific information on the subject matter and is not and should not be considered or relied on as legal advice. Coutts is not responsible for any cost, expense, loss or liability whatsoever to this blog, including all or any reliance on this blog or use or application of this blog by you.