Can employees make tinnitus compensation claims when an employer has provided ear protectors which are faulty? I complained to my employer many times about how my hearing was being damaged, but he just told me to get on with my job and stop moaning.
Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor
Editor in Chief
If your employer has provided you with personal protective equipment which fails to provide you with the protection you need against noise at work, you should be entitled to make tinnitus compensation claims. Simply because your employer does not understand the nature of an injury which cannot be seen, or will ask why none of your work colleagues are developing the same condition – assuming they have been supplied with similarly inadequate ear protectors – does not prevent you from claiming compensation for a tinnitus injury which should have been prevented.
Tinnitus is a very common health problem in the Ireland with the Irish Tinnitus Association estimating that as many as 1 percent of the population are “significantly troubled” by the condition. Many of those affected by tinnitus have sustained their injuries due to excessive noise in the workplace, but before it is possible to make tinnitus compensation claims, the condition must be diagnosed by a doctor and recorded in your medical history.
Claims for tinnitus compensation in Ireland are dealt with in the same way as any injury sustained in the workplace – with an application for assessment sent to the Injuries Board Ireland. It is advisable to have your hearing checked by an audiologist before submitting your application for assessment, as this will provide the Injuries Board with a more accurate assessment of your hearing difficulty and enable them to calculate how much compensation for tinnitus you should receive.
This is, of course, provided that your employer acknowledges his liability for your workplace injury and often it is advisable to compile your application for assessment to the Injuries Board with the assistance of a workplace injury solicitor – not just to ensure that everything you are entitled to claim for is included in Application Form A, but also so that your employer is aware that you have legal representation and will not penalise you for making a claim for a tinnitus injury against him.
Indeed, as your employer has already given the impression that he may deny liability in any tinnitus compensation claims he receives, it may be in your best interests to speak with a workplace injury solicitor at your first possible opportunity to establish that you have a claim for compensation for a tinnitus injury which is worth your while to pursue and to be informed on the steps which may be necessary should your employer not consent to an assessment of your claim for a tinnitus injury by the Injuries Board Ireland.