Justice For Steelworker Who Suffered Hearing Loss Due To Excess Noise At Work

Irwin Mitchell Settlement For Rotherham Man Who Suffered Deterioration Of Hearing Because of Work

08.01.2013

Workplace injury experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell are warning of the dangers posed by working in loud environments after securing justice for a steelworker left partially deaf when his employers failed to provide him with appropriate hearing protection.

Kenneth Clarkson, 79, now requires a hearing aid due to damage caused by the noise of cranes and fork lift trucks he operated in two spells at JJ Habershon & Sons between 1956 and 1980, and the machinery around him as a senior warehouseman for Tata Steel between 1980 and 1999.

Expert injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell secured Kenneth a settlement of £4,710 to cover the cost of his hearing aids and other adaptations he will now need to make in his day-to-day life.

Kenneth, from Kimberworth, Rotherham, said: “The steelworks were very loud, with the steel rollers, conveyors and furnaces producing a lot of noise when we were working with them. It was quite easy to get used to the constant background noise and I didn’t realise the lasting impact it would have on my hearing.

“Not being able to hear things can be really frustrating, and can be distressing when it keeps happening. It really starts to knock your confidence and affect your mood. I feel sorry for my family, who had to put up with me asking to repeat themselves or speak up all the time, and also just feel angry that this could’ve been avoided if I’d just been given some proper protection.

“Having good hearing isn’t really something you notice until you don’t have it and as my hearing has gradually got worse it has definitely made certain things more difficult, such as listening to announcements in public places such as train stations.

“I’m just relieved to finally get some justice for what happened to me, and be able to move on with my life with my new hearing aid.”
 
David Urpeth, the national head of workplace injuries at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Kenneth was never warned or advised about the dangers of noise-induced hearing loss or provided with any protective equipment.

“This case highlights the importance of health and safety policies and employers have a duty of care to their staff which includes ensuring full protective equipment is provided. The damage done by such loud industrial noise is irreversible, and means that Kenneth and people like him are forced to suffer for the rest of their lives.

“In addition to the distress that deafness can cause, the cost of hearing aids can run into the thousands, and even then will not provide perfect hearing for the wearer – meaning other adaptations need to be made, such as specially developed telephones, doorbells and alarm systems. The victims of noise induced hearing loss are in this position through no fault of their own so it is only fair that they are provided with the necessary funds which will improve their quality of life.”

If you or a loved one has suffered from hearing damage such as acoustic shock, tinnitus, and noise-induced hearing loss caused by conditions at work our solicitors could help you claim compensation. See our Industrial Disease Claims page for more information.