, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 18 – A welder who lost his hearing ability during his 15-year stint at Bamburi Cement factory has been awarded Sh7.9 million as compensation.
The Employment and Labour Relations Court has directed the cement firm to pay Morowa Fumwo the amount after it found that prior to his employment he was in good health.
Morowa had accused the cement company of failing to provide him with protective gear leading to loss of hearing.
The claimant claimed that upon medical examination, it was concluded that loss of his hearing was as a result of extreme noise at the workplace.
He retired on medical grounds in 2015 but was unhappy following the factory’s decision to pay him Sh8.2 million as his retirement package.
Bamburi Cement in its defence claimed that he was suffering from hearing loss on recruitment, which was attributable to a pre-existing condition.
“Loss of hearing was not occasioned by an occupational injury. The claimant was reviewed by the respondent in the same year he was employed, 1990, after visiting the respondent’s clinic with complaints of ear pain and oozing. Treatment given was ‘surgery for perforated ear drum,” Bamburi argued.
But the court said there was no conclusive evidence that the condition pre-existed. The judge added that it was impossible that the claimant developed hearing problem in his 1st year of employment.
“What can be concluded is that the claimant was fit to join Bamburi factory. His ears were either found to have no appreciable disease, or were not examined altogether. The claimant’s complaints soon after employment may point to the onset of his hearing problem, or it could also have been that the problem was not detected by the doctor,” the court ruled.