Greater Manchester Police Case Study

Mr S was employed by Greater Manchester Police as a Police Constable from 1974 to 1992. From 1986 to the end of his employment he worked in Communications, initially working at Longsight then later moving to Platt Lane.

Exposure to Noise

He was employed as a Police Constable throughout his employment. During his time in the communications suite he was exposed to excessive noise through the use of headsets. The headsets plugged directly into the desks/equipment using a jack plug. The equipment was used for taking incoming calls from the public and police officers through radio controls.

There were no limiters or restrictors on the headsets to control noise levels. No measures were put in place to protect Mr S and his colleagues from exposure to excessive noise.

A medical report arranged for Mr S, confirmed he was suffering from noise induced hearing loss and this was passed to the defendants in support of his claim.

The Defendants denied the claim and Court proceedings were commenced. Mr S managed to contact a number of his former colleagues to be witnesses. It transpired that they too were suffering with hearing loss and tinnitus. The Defendants continued to deny the claim on the basis that Mr S was not exposed to excessive noise and they had not breached their duty to protect him from exposure to excessive noise.

A joint engineer was instructed and his report confirmed that the headsets used by Mr S at the time had no noise limiters or restrictors and that based on the evidence, Mr S was exposed to noise levels in excess of 90dB. This meant the Defendant had breached their duty to protect his hearing.

The Defendants subsequently made an offer of settlement and following negotiations, a settlement figure of £7,500 was agreed.

What did we have to establish?

We had to establish the following basic matters:

  • Our client did have noise induced hearing loss
  • He was employed by the defendants
  • He was exposed to excessive levels of noise
  • The defendant(s) owed our client and a duty of care and were negligent in failing to provide hearing protection, training and supervision.

How did we help?

In order to progress the case we had to:

  • Discuss with our client how and where he worked to establish a picture of his exposure to noise.
  • Assess the time limits involved in the case
  • Arrange for him to undergo a hearing test (link to hearing test)
  • Establish the relevant authority to deal with the claim and contact the relevant insures notifying of the claim.
  • Arrange a medical report
  • Correspond with the defendants insurers and advise them of their breach of duty and negligence
  • Advise the client on the prospects of the case and discussed how we had valued the claim.
  • Negotiate settlement

The Outcome

A settlement figure of £7,500 was agreed with the Defendants less than one month before the case was for to be heard at court.