Hearing loss in the UK is a significant and increasing issue, affecting everyday interaction. Over 1 million employees are at risk of developing industrial hearing loss. 1 in 6 people (10 million) have some sort of hearing loss, it is estimated that by 2030 this will have increased to 14.5 million. On average it takes 10 years for people to address their hearing loss.
Symptoms can be difficult to detect as they build up over a period of time. In 2013 75% of all occupational disease claims were for hearing loss.
Manage the Risk
Prevention remains a key aspect of any organisations risk management programme. Understand the level of noise exposure to staff, customers and the general public. A qualified and experienced assessor will make recommendations on measures to reduce the impact of damaging noise levels.
Measures to consider include:
- Change design & layout, to account for the source of the noise and relative position of people
- Purchase quieter equipment, adopt quieter processes or use silencers
- Enclose the source of noise with sound absorbing materials
- Screen noisy processes
- Lag noisy pipework
- Provide acoustic wall or ceiling panels
- Shield staff in noise – protected areas
- Regulate time that individuals are exposed to noise
- Provide hearing protection such as ear defenders or ear plugs
The most effective are those which reduce the amount of noise produced. Hearing protection alone can still lead to hearing loss.
Benefits of Effective Risk Management
- Reduction of frequency and cost of claims
- Compliance with the Equality Act 2010
- Support the delivery of business plans
- Enhance the awareness of risk
- Help to identify improvements in policies, procedures and claim related documentation
- Ensure compliance with claims protocol
- Reduces time taken to gather claims information following receipt of a claim
- Improves ability to make easier decisions on Liability, even when claims are not capable of defence
- Contain claims costs so that premiums may be reduced or kept low
- Make a business a much more attractive proposition to insurers