Excessive Noise at Work Results in Compensation

Excessive Noise at Work Results in Compensation

Gary McGregor served in the Army from 1983 to 1991 and was based in the 22 Squadron of the Royal Engineers. In October 1990, the claimant was involved in a training exercise at the Otterburn Training Area, which is in the Catterick Barracks in North Yorkshire. Mr McGregor and his colleagues were using self-loading rifles and sub-machine guns to shoot at targets as they popped up on the firing range. Mr McGregor was using a self-loading rifle, with the rifle resting near the right side of his head as he steadied it. In addition to the firearms, they were using smoke grenades and other forms of pyrotechnics in order to make the exercise seem as realistic as possible.

During the course of the exercise, Mr McGregor’s Commanding Officer ordered all partaking in the exercise to remove their ear defenders, without giving any particular reason for why this was necessary. Mr McGregor removed his ear defenders as ordered and immediately noticed a difference in the noise level.

Immediately following the incident, Mr McGregor was deaf for about 4 hours and noticed his hearing was reduced for a couple of weeks. However, his hearing returned to normal soon after. It was not until the start of 2008 that Mr McGregor started to notice he was having trouble with his hearing again and decided to bring a claim.

We pursued a claim against the Ministry of Defence. Although this was an MoD claim, it was dealt with by Nick Woods in the Industrial Disease Team. After having a medical assessment, it was found that Mr McGregor’s hearing in his left ear was markedly different to that in the right ear. This is because his right ear would have got some protection from the noise, as the right-side of his head was resting against the rifle.

The defendant settled the claim pre-litigation, by way of a Part 36 offer of settlement. Mr McGregor received a four-figure sum in settlement of his claim.

Nick Woods, who handled Mr McGregor’s claim said, “I am absolutely delighted that we have managed to secure a settlement for Mr McGregor. Given that the incident took place almost 20 years ago, I suspected that proving his case could be difficult. Therefore, to have successfully settled his claim and to have recovered a four-figure sum in damages is a fantastic result for Mr McGregor. It just goes to show that just because one’s exposure to noise may have been many years ago, this does not mean that a claim is impossible.”

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