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Lawyers believe a judge’s award of damages to five former refinery workers for hearing damage is the first of its kind in Louisiana.
A judge has ordered Murphy Oil Corp. to pay the five employees $50,000 each for noise-induced hearing loss, a total of $250,000. The five employees worked at the company’s Meraux, LA, plant.
The company may have to pay out more for hearing loss, as the court has yet to rule on the claims of 35 other former employees.
A ruling in favor of all the workers would amount to $2 million if they all were ordered to receive $50,000.
The judge said Murphy Oil violated its duty to its employees by failing to provide:
- a safe place to work free from excessive noise
- an effective hearing conservation program
- regular and periodic hearing tests, and
- warnings of the dangers associated with long-term chronic occupational noise exposure.
The court also noted Murphy Oil decided not to spend $110,000 for noise control equipment during a $35 million plant expansion in the late 1970s.