Noise Induced Hearing Loss in Firefighters
Changes to the Law
The Control of Noise at Work Regulations, 2005 was introduced in England and Wales on 6th April 2006.
This update to the law replaced the Noise at Work Regulations 1989, and aims to serve all industry sectors with a reference for noise control in the workplace.
Under the new regulations, employers must provide employees with suitable hearing protection when noise levels reach 85 decibels. A risk assessment must be carried out when noise levels reach 80 decibels, and there is an upper legal workplace limit of 87 decibels.
Case Study – Hearing Loss in UK Firefighters
In 2007, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) represented Paul Rogerson in a successful lawsuit for Noise Induced Hearing Loss.
Mr Rogerson began his career with the fire service as a teenager in 1969. Over many years, he was exposed to loud noises both in training and in the line of duty. These included the noise of heavy machinery at close proximity, radios, and the two-tone horn of the fire truck.
Shortly before his retirement in 2004, Mr Rogerson suspected that the hearing loss he was suffering from was due to old age (53). However, a medical examination uncovered evidence that his condition was the cumulative result of exposure to excess noise in the workplace.
Similar Cases Reported Overseas – The United States of America
In March 2013, three Pittsburgh firefighters filed a lawsuit claiming that they had suffered hearing loss due to the noise from the sirens mounted on their fire trucks.
The prosecution is being brought against the manufacturers of the vehicles – the men maintain that whilst riding in the vehicles, they were insufficiently insulated from the sound of the sirens.
If you think you or someone you know may have been affected by Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL), and you would like expert advice on this type of case, contact Hampson Hughes today on 0800 888 6888 or email