Law Firm Warns Over Noise Exposure

Industrial Deafness

04.12.2009

Law firm Irwin Mitchell is warning of the dangers posed by exposure to noise after a man was left partially deaf when his employer, Sheffield City Council, failed to provide him with hearing protection.

Alan Fox, 64, from Sheffield, worked for the Council from 1963-1969 helping to develop the once iconic "hole in the road", the former tunnel going underneath where the Castle Square tram stop is now located. He used pneumatic drills, JCB diggers, excavators, and various other small plant tools but the Council never provided him with hearing protection.

Mr Fox was also exposed to excessive levels of noise during his work on the construction of Royal Hallamshire Hospital for Henry Hargreaves & Sons Ltd from 1974-1977.

He has now been left with a permanent loss of hearing as a result of the noise exposure, and has had to purchase hearing aids as he struggles to hear conversations and high-pitched sounds such as birdsong.

Mr Fox said: "Both jobs involved digging and construction work so I was working with loud machinery such as pneumatic drills and JCB diggers.

"My loss of hearing means that I now struggle to hear everyday conversations and it can be quite embarrassing when I have to ask people to repeat themselves several times."

Irwin Mitchell secured a four figure out of court settlement from both of Mr Fox's former employers.

Nick Woods, Industrial Illness specialist at Irwin Mitchell, said: "We are pleased to have settled Mr Fox's case so he can access the help that he now needs.

"Noise-induced deafness can take a number of years to develop, and it's quite possible that a number of Mr Fox's colleagues, through no fault of their own, will have suffered similar injuries as a result of their exposure to noise.

"Employers must understand the need to provide the correct equipment and protection to their employees, as Mr Fox's injuries would have easily been avoided with basic hearing protection."