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Toll escapes liability for deafness claim

A former Toll labourer who suffered industrial deafness has had his compensation claim dismissed

By Brad Gardner | April 17, 2012

A former labourer who suffered industrial deafness has had his compensation claim against Toll dismissed after it was found the 62-year-old worked elsewhere after leaving the company.

David Sullivan told the Magistrates Court of Victoria he had not worked since leaving Toll in 1996 and that he had been receiving a disability pension.

But tax records produced during proceedings showed Sullivan worked for employment agency Catalyst Recruitment, Baker Container Services, as a cleaner and a forklift driver.

“The [Accident Compensation] Act provides that the relevant employment with whom liability rests is that in which the worker was last exposed to industrial noise,” Magistrate Simon Garnett says.

“On the basis of the evidence presented, I am unable to accept that the defendant is the last employer in which he was exposed to industrial noise or that it was the last employment in time in which he was engaged which was of a nature or type that has the characteristic of producing or being associated with industrial noise.”

During proceedings, Sullivan told the court he believed someone else must have used his name to gain work. However, he added that he had a poor memory and the documents prepared by his tax agent were based on information supplied by him.

Garnett says there is no dispute that Sullivan suffered industrial hearing loss during his working life. Toll says Sullivan was exposed to industrial noise during his time with the company.

“However, the defendant contends that it was not the last employer with whom he worked where he was exposed to industrial noise,” Garnett says.

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