The claimant was a workshop mechanic for the police. He repaired police cars and tested or repaired their sirens. That obviously involved switching them on.

After careful calculation, the Judge found he was exposed to daily exposure of 6min 30sec per day of sirens from 1965-1987. No adequate precautions were taken to protect him from the noise. Liability was admitted for any damage proved.

The Judge found large employers had knowledge of risks from 1965 in line with the case of Thompsons -v- Shipbuilders.

The exposure level was 114dbs at a distance of 5 metres or fewer from the horns. The common law “threshold” for exposure of 90dbs was thus exceeded if 2min or more work was done in that range. The Judge found it was.

From 1987-1999, the Noise at Work Regulations applied. The Judge assessed 4min 35sec exposure per day and thus just 36sec exposure at less than 5 metres away from the sirens at 114dbs would take the claimant above the then threshold exposure level of 85dbs and thus the defendant was in breach of statutory duty and common law.

Manchester CC , 18 July 2008