A new AXA Business Insurance report has highlighted that deafness claims against businesses increased by 162 per cent from 2009 to 2012, meaning that British firms are forking out millions of pounds every year against hearing loss claims.
The report reveals that 2012 alone saw a 75 per cent rise, as more people were claiming against deafness than any other type of injury or illness that would take place at work. It has been such claims that have therefore caused Employer Liability claims to also see a 30 per cent rise, according to AXA.
Many of these claims hold noise-induced hearing loss responsible. This news follows recent HSE figures that suggest that over a million people in the UK have to deal with loud noises at work every day; sound levels that could have a permanent effect on hearing. Current Control of Noise regulations state that if sound levels go over 85 decibels, then the firm has to offer ear protection methods, but many organisations do not.
David Williams, managing director at AXA Insurance, said: “The issue for British industry is that, as we have seen with other areas of insurance in the UK, lots of claims inevitably lead to higher premiums in order to cover the cost of payouts.
“We would urge employers to be really thorough in ensuring employees are provided with proper protection and that using it correctly is robustly enforced. By doing this they can help us nip this growing problem in the bud before it starts impacting on their bottom line."
The report was quick to suggest that many of these claims have been notified as fraudulent, and so whilst insurance firms should not glibly ignore the seriousness of the issue, they do not want deafness cases to become "a new whiplash".