BT withdraws hearing loss claims concessions

Dated:

We have continued to successfully pursue claims for BT engineers and employees in relation to their exposure to industrial noise during the course of their employment. The CWU and the panel solicitors have a large number of outstanding claims being dealt with.

Work-Related Injury

In 2010 there were a number of claims due to go to Court and in August of 2010 BT admitted liability and breach of statutory duty in relation to the engineers who use the green oscillating and amplifying equipment and the unmodified yellow testing sets. The accepted they had been negligent and exposed there employees to excessive loud noise likely to cause injury. In addition, BT confirmed that they would not raise the issue of any apportionment on noise exposure and that they would not raise any limitation Defence.

In February this year 2012, BT have now confirmed that they will withdraw their limitation amnesty and that from the 1 January 2013 they reserve their right to raise the issue of limitation on all new deafness claims notified to them by their employees or former employees in relation to the use of oscillating and amplifying test equipment.

BT now reserve the right to raise the issue of limitation and argue that any claims notified to them after the 1 January 2013 may be statute barred and out of time .

This is clearly a tactical decision by BT legal department to place a further hurdle in front of their employees and former employees who were negligently exposed to noise and who have suffered injury and should be considered against the background of the proposed changes by the Government in relation to Legal Aid and legal support for Claimants. The intention of BT is clearly to make it more difficult for Claimants to pursue a claim for damages against them even though they admit they exposed their engineers to loud and excessive noise when using the test equipment. The position now taken by BT will only delay cases further and is likely to increase costs for both parties.

It remains to be seen whether BT will raise the issue of limitation on each and every case and whether the courts will give permission to allow the Claimants to continue with the claim in any event.

It is important that any new claim for hearing loss arising from the use of the oscillators and amplifying testing sets is notified to BT before the end of this year to ensure that their position is protected in full and we would encourage any outstanding people who are considering a claim or who have worked with this equipment to contact the CWU in the immediate future on their helpline number 0800 804 66 74.

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