Sadly the ship building industry and heavy manufacturing in the UK is a fraction of its former size. However many workers especially those working with rivet guns, welders and pneumatic hammers were exposed to deafening noise as they often worked in cramped and enclosed environments which made the noise far worse.
What was my employer required to do?
Prior to 1963, in most instances , employers can argue that they were not required to provide you with any hearing protection and no liability will attach to them. This means that you cannot seek compensation for exposure to noise prior to 1963, in nearly all cases.
However in 1963, most employers were sent a copy of a health and safety leaflet “Noise and the Worker”. From this date, employers had to ensure that protective hearing equipment was issued to workers who worked for 8 hours a day in noise over a certain level. As the noise levels increased, the period of time to which you could be safely exposed to certain levels of noise reduced.
Various legislation was brought into affect to safeguard workers from hearing loss and employers were required to do the following from 2005 onwards:
- Assess the risks to employees from noise at work;
- Take action to reduce the noise exposure that produces those risks;
- Provide employees with hearing protection , if noise reduction cannot be achieved through other methods;
- Make sure the legal limits on noise exposure are not exceeded;
- Provide employees with information, instruction and training;
- Carry out health surveillance where there is a risk to health.
In many cases employers did little to ensure the safety of their employees and often simply provided an occasional pair of ear plugs, without training, guidance or assessing their suitability.
Due to these failings, WE Solicitors have been successful against a number of bodies and companies in the industry including:
- BAE Systems Marine Ltd
- Cammel Laird
- Wear Dock Engineering Ltd
- Stag Marine Ltd
- Tyne Dockyard Ltd
- Zenta Ltd
- Swan Hunter
- British Shipbuilders Ltd
If you worked in this industry and are concerned about you hearing then contact us today.
Click here to see a case study of a former client who worked in this industry.