25 September 2007

Claims against car factory for hearing loss

Several claims for compensation for hearing loss were filed against the Jaguar car plant in Merseyside, England.

Twelve ex-workers sued the car factory for hearing loss. The compensation costs may reach between GBP 3,000 and 25,000.

Working in a car plant can be dangerous for the hearing of the employees. Exposure to noise from presses, trip hammers and other machinery may lead to hearing loss and tinnitus. Employees may find it difficult to engage in ordinary group or one-on-one conversations with co-workers, and their general state of health may be affected.

“It is generally accepted that there was little or no hearing protection at the plant until the late 1980s and in some areas, not until the late 1990s. Although in the majority of cases, protection is now available, this is of no real benefit to long-serving employees where they have had substantial exposure during their early years at work,” states Peter Lodge, solicitor and specialist in occupational disease work.

Protection and evaluation

Employers must provide hearing protection when noise levels surpass 85 dB, and hearing evaluations should be carried out regularly to protect the health and safety of their workers.

An individual case: £6,000 in compensation

Keith Kehoe, aged 54 years, worked at the Jaguar plant for 29 years. He started having hearing problems after years of exposure to excessive noise.

It was not until one year prior to his voluntary retirement from the car factory, that he was advised to wear hearing protection. However, this protective measure was not compulsory.

After pursuing a legal action against the company for damages and prejudices resulting from his hearing loss, Keith Kehoe received £6,000 in compensation.

Source: icliverpool.co.uk

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