The Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) recently granted EC benefits to a miner from Benguet after sustaining noise-induced hearing loss in his 24 four years of service at a mining firm.

Baltazar Bodtan worked as an underground environmental supervisor who was responsible for the installation, maintenance of ventilation equipment, proper waste disposal and ensuring adherence to standard operation procedures in the use of mining machines.

On September 27, 2007, Bodtan underwent audiometry examination and it was discovered that he had moderate and sensorineural hearing loss with a 49 percent hearing handicap.

In 2008, Bodtan filed for an EC Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) claim but was denied because of his failure to submit an additional audiometry examinations showing that his hearing impairment progressed to a state of permanent disability.

Two years after his retirement in March 2015, Bodtan underwent another audiometry examination and the results showed monoaural impairment with a total hearing handicap of 44 percent. He also underwent medical examination and was diagnosed with spinal arthritis and hypertension.

The ECC recognized the dangerous conditions of working underground and noted that Bodtan’s hearing loss may have been caused by exposure to high-frequency noise since he had been exposed to these factors on a daily basis for 24 years.

The ECC stated that Bodtan met the conditions for compensability of Occupational Hearing Loss wherein he was exposed in the workplace to harmful noise levels in the higher frequencies, such as explosive blasts and long sustained noise from drilling machines.

The ECC ordered the Social Security System (SSS) to grant Bodtan EC disability benefits plus reimbursement of medical expenses for his succeeding consultation due to Noise-Induced Hearing Loss.

However, ECC sustained the decision of the SSS on denying his claim for EC disability benefits due to hypertension and musculoskeletal disorders because there were no reports or documents of illness from the employer that would prove that the other illnesses he claimed were work-related.

END/ECC/Abegail De Vega

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