Author Bio ▼

Ian Macalister has been a Partner at DWF LLP since 2000 and currently leads the occupational health team in its Manchester office.

Ian has special interest and noted expertise in employer’s liability, occupational disease and illness claims, and leads a team of around 35 fee earners focusing solely on occupational health and public liability claims for composite insurers, as well as self-insured undertakings. He has over 25 years’ experience in the field and his areas of specialism, including asbestos, WRULDs, stress and contribution issues, as well as casualty claims generally.

November 12, 2014

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Ripe for reform: deafness claims

In the last 25 years, the UK has implemented two EU directives addressing directly the issue of noise in the workplace, reducing the action level to one where the risk of injury is really very low indeed. Other changes in relation to risk assessment, PPE and agents such as vibration have also improved the working environment.

Despite this, however, notifications of civil claims for damages have continued to surge in numbers. Actuarial estimates suggest 80,000 claims were made last year alone. The increase cannot be explained by demographics and appears to be the consequence of legal market forces.

A very high proportion of the claims fail which does nothing for public confidence in the process, and in any event, the administration of even failed claims represents a significant cost to business.

The creation of a ‘market’ in claims has also led to concerns over issues of fraud and how one decides what is or is not a genuine claim. In all respects, the process surrounding deafness claims is ripe for reform.

Ian Macalister will be speaking on noise induced hearing loss claims at the RoSPA Occupational Safety and Health Congress on Wednesday, 19 November. For more information, visit:

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Mike Fullalove
Mike Fullalove

As a Health & Safety Manager with many years of experience dealing with people and situations aiming to ensure we as an organisation minimise any effects to peoples health or well being, I agree the claim situation within the UK is very often fraudulent with regards to injury in work. I have over the past few months had employees asking advice over a letter they had received stating there could be a problem with their hearing and invited to audiometric testing, they were also informed no action would be taken against their employer as compensation would be paid by the… Read more »