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Supreme Court’s Industrial Deafness Ruling ‘A Blow’

New Decision Clarifies Legislation


A workplace illness expert at Irwin Mitchell has revealed his disappointment over a Supreme Court ruling which will impact on the number of people able to fight for justice over industrial deafness.

The ruling made on the Baker v Quantum Clothing Group Ltd test case counters any of the potential issues cause by the Court of Appeal’s 2009 decision, with experts suggesting it clarifies the issue.

Under the decision, employers are not liable for hearing problems caused by regular exposure to noise below 90 decibels before the Noise at Work Regulations 1989 came into force.

Irwin Mitchell’s industrial deafness specialists represent a number of people who have suffered hearing problems as a result of exposure to high levels of noise at work.

Mark Allen, a Sheffield-based expert in the team, said: “The ruling is very disappointing, particularly as it impacts on the number of people who are able to seek justice over the failure of their employers to offer proper noise protection.

“We regularly see the impact that hearing problems such as tinnitus, acoustic shock and deafness can have on so many people, putting a strain on both their lives and their loved ones.

“The ruling does, however, create clarification on the legislation in this area, which means that those who are seeking answers over hearing problems which originated before 1990 have more of an idea just how successful they will be.

“Fortunately, we have seen regulations amended so that the decibel level has fallen significantly in the past few years. This shows a greater awareness of the impact that this issue can have on so many people.”

If you or a loved one has suffered from hearing damage such as acoustic shock, tinnitus, and noise-induced hearing loss caused by conditions at work our solicitors could help you claim compensation. See our Industrial Disease Claims page for more information.