It seems that claims for noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) have been at record levels since 2013. Records show that 85,000 claims were made in 2013 and latest data shows a 3% rise on this for 2015.
Much of the rise in claims has most likely been as a result of marketing from the claims handling companies. They have been driven by an often wrong perception that NIHL claims are a sure win simply because of the long periods that have elapsed since the exposure to noise.
Having experienced this at close quarters I can confirm that claim companies rely upon a lack of records and therefore a lack of evidence to defend against allegations of exposure to excessive noise. One case we experienced quickly went away once the risk assessments and information on control measures were dusted off (from the archives) and presented.
The response from the Insurance industry has been to robustly review the claims being made and to ensure that evidence provided is properly vetted. This has seen a lot higher level of claims being rejected; 80% has been quoted by some.
The claims companies remain keen to put in the claims as their fees typically dwarf any compensation damages; their fees are on average £10,000 per case.
From a business point of view it is important to ensure noise risk assessments are diligently undertaken and that they are updated routinely (as noise levels can change). Evidence of what controls are in place and how they are applied is needed. Of course, importantly, where there is a risk of NIHL, then make sure you have suitable hearing testing in place.
If you are unsure of noise levels in your workplace and need professional guidance then please let us know.