The Ministry of Defence (MoD) have revealed a pay-out of £374,000 due to ‘Noise Induced Sensorineural Hearing Loss’ alongside huge financial losses in the Taxpayers’ Alliance report.
Among the £5.1 billion Whitehall losses, £3.1 billion were attributed to the Ministry of Defence, including £7.2 million spent on unsuitable mine detection capabilities for Warrior vehicles and £4 million on the early withdrawal from service of Sea King helicopters. Further to this was the purchase of 10,000 sets of high-tech ear plugs for £6 million.
The intention of the ear plugs was to protect soldiers from the damaging noise of gunfire and explosions whilst still being able to communicate with one another on the battlefield. The Personalised Interfaced Hearing Protection system was tested in the UK but proved ineffective during the trial run.
An MoD spokesman stated, “Ear defenders are a technical piece of equipment, and provide vital hearing protection for our troops. Whilst they were trialled ahead of being used in theatre, it was only during the constant rhythm of operations that it became clear they required modification to ensure they offered our personnel the best possible protection.”
Not least in the question of the loss of money on the protective equipment, which cost £500 for each set to be specially fitted to individual soldier’s ears, is the potential damage to military personnel’s hearing.
Slater and Gordon Senior Associate Lawyer Zoe Sutton commented, “We have seen an increasing number of serving and former service personnel seeking advice in relation to loss of hearing. Loss of hearing in the armed forces can be at best career limiting, and at worst career ending. It is disappointing to learn that despite the vast resources available to it, the MoD appears to have failed to undertake sufficiently rigorous testing of expensive hearing protection such that it has proved largely ineffective in the situations where it was of the most critical importance to service personnel.”
There are various circumstances in which HM armed forces personnel can bring a Military Accident Claim for compensation including:
- Training accidents and unsafe working practices
- Injury caused by unsafe or defective military equipment
- Injury from unsafe or defective military accommodation
- Fatal accidents
- Road traffic accidents
- Clinical negligence.
Zoe Sutton is a Senior Associate specialising in Military Accident Claims at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers offer a free consultation for armed forces personnel injured during military service. 98% of claims are funded through a No Win, No Fee Agreement which means there is no financial risk to you. Call freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to help you.
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