Buffalo Firefighters Sue Siren Manufacturer over Hearing Loss

Over 100 firefighters join others in claim over damaged hearing

 

About 20 lawsuits filed in state court were moved to federal court in Buffalo a week ago. In the lawsuits, 193 individuals follow in the footsteps of employees of fire departments in at least five other states who have sued siren makers. The firefighters since 1999 have claimed hearing loss from repeated exposure to sirens in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Missouri, New Jersey, Maryland and New York.  READ MORE

 

Is this going too far?

 

What are you doing to prevent hearing loss?

Views: 838

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Is this going too far? IMO, yes it is. This adds to the number of frivolous lawsuits we see everyday and looking to place blame where it probably shouldn't. To claim sirens are too loud is speculative, especially when we see other drivers failing to yield the right of way on an almost daily occurrence.

 

In reality there very well could be hearing loss attributed to sirens, but I don't think this is the manufacturer's fault. Hearing conservation programs should be part of a department's standards and hearing protection should be issued by a dept. For an open cab rig, wearing hearing protection with sirens going should be required, right up there with wearing a seatbelt. Since the claims go back to 1999, there could be a legitimate gripe, however, that gripe should be with the individual dept. If there is/was a hearing conservation program in place by the depts, then I don't see how there can be blame, UNLESS, there was a hearing conservation program in place and one can show documentation of hearing loss despite precautions in place. Although I find such examples to be very rare because they would have to show they had no hobbies involving noise and they always wore hearing protection. Hard claim to make here and I'm thinking such folks are just hoping for an out of court settlement.

i personally think this is one of the stupidest things i have ever heard, my old department had an older vehical that had a warning label in it about noise and hearing protection and if im not mistaken all vehicals professionally manufactured have this warning in them if the end user doesnt want to use hearing protection its their own fault if anything they could go after the department for not providing hearing protection all sirens have a warning label its not their fault that people in general dont heed warning labels

Remember,

   Boys and Girls this is a nation with a justice system full or judges with little to no guts. A million dollar lawsuit won for spilling coffee on themselves opened up a new game. Sue everyone for anything. It is a shame that our brothers would do this; but it is getting to be the American way. A judge with any common sense would throw this lawsuit out. My guess is they won't and everyone will settle. What a waste of tax payer money. Zachary, Warning signs are like no liability forms,a waste of ink and paper. Common sense isn't so common anymore. 

In all actuality the manufacturer can put whatever the hell they want on an apparatus, that doesn't mean that damages can't be done. A dept can upgrade lighting and even sirens as they see fit, regardless of manufacturer warnings. The crux of the issue would be the individual depts hearing conservation program and what that dept does. If a dept does not have such a program, then they could be at fault for hearing losses.

 

Since hearing loss is a gradual loss, the issue becomes a matter of proving the loss is attributed to solely the sirens. To me, this would mean that the dept has no hearing conservation program in place at all and does not provide any sort of hearing protection. If so, I would say this is a deparmental issue, not a manufacturer. Secondly, one would have to show they have no hobbies or secondary occupation exposing them to potential hearing loss, such as shooting guns, woodworking, working on engines, etc. It becomes something hard to prove. Although, I see this more of hoping for an out of court settlement.

 



John Crabbe said:

In all actuality the manufacturer can put whatever the hell they want on an apparatus, that doesn't mean that damages can't be done. A dept can upgrade lighting and even sirens as they see fit, regardless of manufacturer warnings. The crux of the issue would be the individual depts hearing conservation program and what that dept does. If a dept does not have such a program, then they could be at fault for hearing losses.

 

Since hearing loss is a gradual loss, the issue becomes a matter of proving the loss is attributed to solely the sirens. To me, this would mean that the dept has no hearing conservation program in place at all and does not provide any sort of hearing protection. If so, I would say this is a deparmental issue, not a manufacturer. Secondly, one would have to show they have no hobbies or secondary occupation exposing them to potential hearing loss, such as shooting guns, woodworking, working on engines, etc. It becomes something hard to prove. Although, I see this more of hoping for an out of court settlement.

 I agree John.  

I saw this a few days ago..... They're a bunch of whiners. I agree with what John wrote. It's a failure of the dept to have a hearing conservation program, or their lack of following it. 

Wow!  Some really good examples of Brotherhood here on this topic.  before you all get high and mighty it wasn't that long ago where most places refused to accept heart attacks or cancer as being caused by firefighting stress and exposure to heat and toxic gasses.

If you rode in fire apparatus manufactured in the 50's through the 70's a good portion of them had the sirens and air horns mounted on the cab roof and the noise reverberated through out the cab.  Those of you that never rode in those cabs and have had the luxury of riding in insulated closed cabs, with bumper or grill mounted sirens and air horns, really have no idea what you are talking about. Further calling people stupid or whiners because they file a claim for a work related injury makes you look vindictive and ignorant.  It's easy to say now that hearing protection should have been worn, but it just didn't happen in the 70's or the 80's on any department I was on, and it really wasn't all that common even into the 90's.  But then again all you experts seem to have 20/20 hindsight.   

Hopefully in 10 or 20 or 30 years when you all retire something you had no concept of doesn't force you to be a whiner, or commit the stupidest thing the next generation of firefighters has ever heard, and file a lawsuit or a worker's comp claim.  

I can understand that sentiment of the 70's and 80's Don, however, this snippet comes from the article associated with the topic.

The firefighters since 1999 have claimed hearing loss from repeated exposure to sirens in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Missouri, New Jersey, Maryland and New York

 

1999 isn't that long where there wasn't hearing conservation programs and so forth out there. Granted there may be rigs with airhorns and sirens top mounted, but such hearing programs were in place. I don't know all the details surrounding the suits and my comments are in regards to a dept perhaps being moreso on the hook if they failed to have such hearing conservation programs in place. The nature of such a class action suit and going after mfgrs absolutely has the appearance of going after the big dollars.

 

In the mid 90's, while in the military, I can attest to the prominence of hearing conservation then. You had annual hearing tests, and single and double hearing protection mandated in certain areas of the ship, etc. I was involved with fire explorers prior to my stint in the military and the dept I was affiliated with then (my current dept) had such hearing conservation programs in place in the early 90's and since for sure. We even had open cabs when I started fulltime and hearing protection was mandated if riding outside. I find it difficult to accept that hearing conservation was as rare as you make it appear, especially in the timeframe the article depicts.

 

 

 

John,

You can believe whatever you want. When I retired hearing protection was available in every rig but there was no mandatory policy in place stating you had to wear it. 

Don, If you look all the air horns are on top of our rigs. We have no mandated hearing conservation policy in force either. I'm not calling them whiners or anything else. I'm stating if you are working a job your own common sense to protect yourself should prevail. 

I worked construction for years running heavy equipment with no hearing protection. So because i have lose of hearing should i sue my former employee because i didn't use common sense and wear hearing protection? Is it really their fault that i didn't wear protection because they didn't tell me to? When do we start holding ourselves accountable for stuff that we could of prevented happening to us in the first place? It is always easy to blame someone else. They are suing. So be it. May thought and idea is somethings we do to ourselves and there is nobody else to blame. They may have a ligament complaint here.I have not seen the whole law suit. I'm going by what information i have and have been able to get.  

And my point is unless you are them, and know the circumstances, people here calling them whiners and stupid are not what I call Brothers.

I can see where you are coming from and can agree.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

FireRescue Magazine

Find Members Fast


Or Name, Dept, Keyword
Invite Your Friends
Not a Member? Join Now

© 2019   Created by Firefighter Nation WebChief.   Powered by

Badges  |  Contact Firefighter Nation  |  Terms of Service