Contact us today to schedule a free initial confidential consultation: (302) 777-1000

Job Related Hearing Loss

We help clients who have suffered hearing loss due to noise exposure at work.  That loss may be due to one or a few very loud sounds at work, or can be the result of many years of exposure to literally deafening noise.  The gradual loss may not be noticed until it’s serious. If you fear you’ve lost hearing, or the work environment is so noisy you fear that may happen in the future, contact our office to discuss your options.

The federal Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has a hearing conservation program designed to protect workers with significant occupational noise exposures from hearing impairment. Generally, employers with ten or more employees fall under OSHA’s jurisdiction.

Employers Need to Monitor and Protect Their Employees’ Hearing

The hearing conservation program requires employers to monitor noise levels to identify employees exposed to noise at or above 85 decibels (dB) averaged over 8 working hours, or an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA). Employers must monitor all employees whose noise exposure is equivalent to, or greater than, a noise exposure received in 8 hours where the noise level is constantly 85 dB.

To put this in perspective, 85 dB’s is about what you would hear inside a car on a city street. A normal conversation is about 60 dB’s and a twelve gauge shotgun blast is about 165 dB’s.

According to OSHA, the employer must establish and maintain an audiometric testing program, including baseline audiograms, annual audiograms, training and follow up. The testing program follow up should indicate whether the hearing conservation program is working.

Employers must compare annual audiograms to baseline audiograms to determine whether the employee has lost hearing ability or experienced a standard threshold shift (STS, an average shift in either ear of 10 dB or more at 2,000, 3,000, and 4,000 hertz).

Hearing Protection Must be Offered to Those who eed it

The employer must fit or refit any employee showing an STS with adequate hearing protectors, show the employee how to use them and require the employee to wear them. Employers must also notify employees within 21 days after the determination that their audiometric test results show an STS.

Employers must provide hearing protectors to all workers exposed to 8-hour TWA noise levels of 85 dB or above. This requirement ensures that employees have access to protectors before they experience any hearing loss.

Contact Our Office

Your ability to hear may not be something you appreciate until you lose it.  If you feel that you have lost, partially or completely, your ability to hear because of conditions at work, set up a private meeting with an experienced Delaware workers compensation attorney. Contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Our office is open Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., but we will meet with you evenings or weekends upon request. We will travel to your home or the hospital if necessary.

Death Benefits for Workers Compensation

Worker’s compensation benefits are meant to provide benefits to employees injured during the course of their employment.  That injury could be caused by an accident or an occupational disease. That injury could also result in the death of the employee, which may entitle the employee’s survivors to benefits. We have handled many workers compensation cases over the years, including those where workers’ lives have been lost.

It’s not just accidents killing workers

If someone thinks of a work related situation that results in the death of an employee, a truck or construction accident, something sudden and traumatic, may come to mind.  But it’s not just accidents that could kill an employee. It may be a long lasting but ultimately fatal occupational disease that ends an employee’s life.

If you have an occupational disease, contact our office to discuss the situation.  You don’t want to wait for it to kill you and have your survivors file for benefits.  You may be entitled to benefits now, and it may be easier to prove your illness is work related while you are still alive.

Employee or non-employee, that can be the question

The injured worker must be an “employee,” meaning the individual’s work must be under the direction and control of the employer. Independent contractors are not covered. In many instances an individual’s status as an employee or independent contractor is disputed.

Employers often have workers sign an acknowledgement or contract stating they are independent contractors to try to avoid responsibility for workers’ compensation coverage and other employment related costs and regulations. Such written acknowledgements will not defeat a claim for benefits if the employer exercised direction and control over the work performed by the deceased individual.

We can assess whether an employment relationship existed, enabling the injured individual to collect workers’ compensation benefits. Depending on the circumstances, if the company denies the deceased was an employee, a better option may be filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the company.  Though the plaintiff would need to show the company at fault (unlike workers compensation, which is a no-fault system), far greater damages may be available in court.

Workers Compensation Death Benefits

The workers compensation law provides for the payment of weekly compensation benefits and a burial expense allowance of $3,000.00 in Pennsylvania, $3,500 in Delaware. The benefits, a percentage of the weekly wage, are payable to the employee’s dependents, including a spouse and dependent children.  Benefits are payable to eligible children until age 18, unless they are dependent because of a disability, in which case compensation shall continue during the child’s disability. Benefits to a child can continue to be paid until age 23 if the child is enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited educational institution in Pennsylvania, until age 25 in Delaware.

The loss of parent or spouse due to an accident or illness can be traumatic and we provide personal, caring service to make a very difficult time a little bit easier. We have more than 31 years of experience working with families who have lost loved ones and we work hard to get them the compensation they deserve.

Contact Attorney Michael J. Hood

To arrange a free initial consultation to discuss a possible Pennsylvania or Delaware workers compensation claim, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary.