Legal News

ROH was held liable for damages to a viola player, based on a breach of the Noise Regulations before October 2013.

Before October 2013 a breach of statutory duty under health and safety regulations normally conferred a civil right of action for damages.

In Goldscheider v Royal Opera House
the claimant was a viola player in ROH’s in-house orchestra. He claimed his hearing was permanently damaged at a Wagner rehearsal in 2012 due to ‘acoustic shock’ from the brass section behind him. This had ended his career.

The Court of Appeal upheld his claim that the ROH had breached the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005, and was liable for damages.

The court noted that before one even got to even consider the use of personal hearing protectors under regulation 7, the employer was obliged under regulation 6 to reduce exposure to noise at or above the upper exposure action value (EAV), which was present here, to as low a level as was reasonably practicable by measures excluding the use of PHPs.

Even now it may sometimes still be possible to bring a claim based on the pre-October 2013 rules, where a health condition took years to appear.

More: Personal injury>Breach of statutory duty.

Also, there is more on this case in a 4-page journal article ‘Royal Opera loses its appeal’, Occupational Health at Work 2019; 16(1): 12-15 (June/July 2019).