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Industrial Deafness – Are you listening?

There was once a time when an accident was just that, an accident. These things happened and no one was felt to be at blame. Then the adverts started, ‘Where there’s blame, there’s a claim’. And the claims started to be brought against businesses. And the effect has been felt by business owners ever since. So what can you do about it?

Accidents happen. It is unfortunate but it is a fact of life. However, with good Health and Safety in place at least you can reduce the likelihood of accidents occurring and the impact they have when they do.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics , in 2012/13 there were over 78,000 RIDDOR reported injuries in the workplace and 175,000 over seven day absence injuries. The most frequent causes were manual handling, slips and trips and falls from height. Having a good health and safety system in place for these, and all other business activities, could help your business in a number of ways. Not only will it reduce the number of accidents, and therefore claims, but it would also make any claims that do come in much more defendable.

The financial impact of a claim can vary dramatically depending on the individual circumstances of each case. Putting systems in place to try and protect your employees should help to reduce these costs.

In recent years, one area where we have seen a huge increase in claims is in relation to industrial deafness. This is likely to be a continuing trend given that these claims fall outside of the new portal introduced by insurers to keep costs down. Claims that fall within the new portal are subject to fixed legal costs, but because deafness claims brought against more than one company fall outside of the portal, they are not. It seems therefore that solicitors are much more willing to take on a deafness claim and, in 2012 alone, AXA saw a 75% increase in the number of deafness claims and had more claims for deafness than any other type of workplace injury. Purchasing quieter equipment, soundproofing, conducting noise surveys and having the correct PPE in place and enforcing its use has, therefore, never been so important.

To make sure your employees are protected at work adequate Health and Safety is a must. To ensure you, your business and your employees are protected should your employees be injured at work employers’ liability insurance is paramount.

For further information on Health and Safety in your workplace or Employers’ Liability insurance please contact ProAktive on 01302 341 344.

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