Kenya: Court allows former Safaricom employee to file suit for alleged work-related hearing loss

Photo credit: Nairobi123, CC A-SA 4.0.The High Court of Kenya has allowed a former customer care representative at Safaricom to sue the firm for a permanent hearing disability allegedly arising out of the nature of his work. The employee claims Safaricom ignored pleas to assign him other duties aggravating his hearing problem.

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Article
13 February 2017

Court ruling allowing former employee to sue Safaricom

Author: Judge Njuguna, in Kenya Law Report

"Cyrus Ombuna Machini vs Safaricom Limited"

...The Plaintiff stated that he was employed by the Defendant at Customer Care Centre as a customer care representative. That due to the nature of his work, he spent long hours on head phones which exposed him to high sound volume. That as a result of the said exposure since the year 2008 he has developed medical complications to his ears. He was treated and later fitted with hearing aids. Despite the hearing aid, he continued losing his hearing capacity.

He stated that he was diagnosed with a bilateral sensor neural hearing loss and a recommendation by doctors is that he be fitted with a WIDEX clear 440 type hearing aid to relieve the symptoms and amplify sounds and also an electronic hearing and dryer (DRY- GO-UV) to prevent the hearing aids from damage caused by moisture and or water. That he obtained a detailed Medical Report to confirm the status of his health. He further stated that prior to this, he had been treated and a recommendation made that he be transferred to another department but the Defendant did not heed to the recommendation. He alleged that his hearing capacity has been deteriorating with time and it is difficult to determine when the cause of action arose as it has been a continuous cause where he cannot tell when the time started running. That he has since been declared to have suffered a permanent disability as he cannot hear properly.

It is apparent from the record that the Plaintiff’s injury so to speak occurred in the year 2008 but it was not until the medical assessment report from Ministry of Health dated 4th May, 2016 confirmed that he had lost his ability to hear as a result of the prolonged use of headphones and pains he underwent in 2008.

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Article
13 February 2017

Kenya: Former employee sues Safaricom for alleged work-related hearing loss

Author: Benson Wambugu, Daily Nation (Kenya)

"Former Safaricom staff sues over hearing loss"

Safaricom may be compelled to compensate a former employee who allegedly lost his hearing capacity due to the nature of his work. A High Court judge has allowed Mr Cyrus Machini to sue the leading mobile network operator after a medical assessment report from the Health ministry confirmed that he lost his ability to hear following prolonged use of headphones.

Mr Machini moved to court seeking leave to file the suit out of time as the cause of action arose in 2008 when he worked at the company’s customer care centre. He was given the nod to lodge the suit and seek remedy from his former employer. He told the court that due to the nature of his work, he spent long hours wearing headphones which exposed him to high sound volumes, damaging his ears. “I find that Mr Machini’s application...has merit and it is hereby granted as prayed,” Lady Justice Lucy Njuguna said.

After he developed medical complications in his ears, Mr Machini said he was treated and later fitted with hearing aids but he continued to lose his hearing capacity. He said that he was diagnosed with a bilateral sensor neural hearing loss and the doctors recommended that he be fitted with a hearing aid to amplify sounds. He claims the doctors also recommended an electronic hearing and dryer to insulate the hearing aids from damage caused by moisture or water.

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