Justice For Former Fitter Who Suffered Hearing Loss Working For Bus Service Provider

Workplace Injury Lawyers Call For Improved Hearing Protection For Employees

15.04.2014

A former fitter who suffered hearing loss and tinnitus after years of being exposed to loud noise in the workplace, has spoken of his ordeal to raise awareness of the importance of workers being given adequate protection to keep them safe and prevent problems for others in future.

John Johnston, 60, of Gosforth in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, has been left with partial hearing in both ears after being exposed to excessive levels of noise between 1970 and 1978 whilst working at United Automobile Ltd, a bus service provider based in Jesmond.

As a mechanical fitter, he was exposed to noise from hammering, compressed air guns, ratchets, spanners and the loud noise from the bus engines, but says he was never provided with adequate ear protection.

John, who is married with four grandchildren, instructed workplace illness experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell in a battle for justice and is speaking out after lawyers at the firm secured him a four-figure settlement from his former employers, despite them never admitting liability, to compensate for the suffering he has endured and to pay for specialist hearing aids.

For eight years, John operated several machines and used many tools which all created an incredible amount of noise.  Now John is partially deaf in both ears, suffers from tinnitus and struggles with communicating with friends and family in everyday life.

Sarah Tagg, a specialist industrial deafness lawyer at Irwin Mitchell representing him, said: “John was never warned or advised about the dangers of noise-induced hearing loss or provided with the appropriate protective equipment during his employment at United Automobile Ltd despite being exposed to loud noises every day in his role.

“His case highlights the importance of workplace health and safety policies and all employers have a duty of care to their staff which includes the appropriate equipment to protect them while they work and informing them about the potential hazards.

“The damage to John’s hearing is permanent and means that John is likely to have to wear a hearing aid many years earlier than expected.

“Partial hearing loss can significantly affect a person’s life from struggling to listen to conversations, to requiring home adaptations such as specially developed telephones, doorbells and alarm systems.

“John is now unable to hear properly through no fault of his own so we hope the settlement will give him the funds to improve his quality of life.”

John commented: “It’s terrible to think that had I have been given the appropriate ear protection that I would not be in the state I am now.

“It was extremely noisy but you just get on with your job and because I wasn’t offered any protection or warned about the dangers it doesn’t cross your mind that you may suffer later in life.
 
 “At 60 years old I am now required to wear hearing aids, suffering from tinnitus and I feel like I am shouting all the time just to communicate. It is just frustrating and embarrassing.

“I hope this highlights the importance of wearing the appropriate protection in the work place as you really don’t appreciate how much you rely on your hearing until it is gone.”

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.