Noise induced hearing loss has always been associated with people who have worked in heavy industry such as shipbuilding, the metal and steel industry and manufacturing. Over the last 10 years there has been a resurgence in the number of claims against employers for exposing their employees or former employees to harmful levels of noise whilst at work. It is widely accepted that after 1961, in most industries, employers should have taken steps to protect their workforce from exposure to noise by providing hearing protection.
As a consequence of the decline of heavy industry over the past 3 decades, these traditional types of noise induced hearing loss claims are slowly reducing and many observers believed this would mark the start of the end of noise induced hearing loss cases in the UK.
However as a firm we are increasingly instructed by workers and victims of noise induced hearing loss who have never been employed in those traditional heavy manufacturing industries. A forgotten but significant number of victims now come from the entertainment industry. These include people who have worked in pubs, clubs, live music venues, musicians and security workers.
An environment that members of the public accept as a lively night out in a bar or club is the place of work for many workers who are exposed to high levels of noise which would be considered unacceptable in other industries in this day and age.
In April 2008, the existing regulations protecting workers in the music and entertainment sectors from exposure to excessive noise, were replaced by the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 (Noise Regulations). These regulations recognize that music is unusual as it is noise, deliberately created for enjoyment, and therefore practical guidelines are necessary to help workers, employers and freelancers in the music and entertainment sectors to protect their hearing and safeguard their careers.
Music and entertainment sectors are recognized as:-
- live music is played or
- recorded music is played in a restaurant, bar, public house, discotheque or nightclub,
- or alongside live music or a live dramatic or dance performance.
The responsibility for complying with the Noise Regulations rests with the employer. Employers in the music and entertainment sectors may include, concert promoters, event organisers, theatrical producers, contractors and publicans.
Employers must take active steps to protect their employees hearing and failure to do so will mean they are in breach of the guidelines which could result in legal action.
We have noticed that the clients who have instructed us having worked in the entertainment industry tend to be much younger than our clients exposed to noise whilst working in heavy industry. They have often only been exposed to noise for a few years and importantly, the compensation they have recovered for their injuries are much greater.
Many of our clients commonly recall that their hearing would feel muffled after finishing their shift or there was a ringing/whistling in their ears which would come and go. This is often the first sign that hearing has been damaged and can be noise related tinnitus.
If you work in this industry or have been affected by noise at work then contact us today for a free assessment of your potential claim.