After having worked for 20 years packing stocking in a hosiery factory an employee developed hearing problems. The noise in the factory was at a lower level than is usually accepted for liability. However, the Court of Appeal stated that the ambient noise of 85 decibels was not safe and the firm should have provided hearing protection for its workers. As a result the company was liable under section 29 of the factories act 1961.
The factory failed to take measures that were ‘reasonably practicable’ to eliminate the risk of harm and ear protectors could have been easily provided for little cost. In this case the lady concerned was awarded £3,334.