BT Engineer Diagnosed With Noise Induced Deafness Speaks Out To Help Keep Workers Safe

Legal Experts Secure Settlement For Pensioner Who Received No Hearing Protection

03.02.2014

A former British Telecommunications engineer from Sheffield, who now suffers from noise induced deafness and tinnitus after years of working with faulty equipment provided by his employer, has spoken out to help keep workers safe.

Graham Guest, 76, instructed specialist industrial deafness lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to help him achieve justice and has now received £7,500 from his employers at BT to cover the cost of equipment to help deal with his illness.

Graham started work for BT as a technician in 1960 and worked his way up to senior technician until leaving the company in 1992. His job involved using BT’s ‘green set’ and ‘yellow set’ oscillators, it is thought that the equipment may still be used widely in the communications industry despite BT having withdrawn them some time ago.

The oscillators transmit a constant high pitched sound through a headset allowing the user to listen for changes in tone to track faults in the telephone cables.

Experts at Irwin Mitchell are currently representing around 800 people who have suffered injury due to BT oscillators.

Although BT has since admitted that the equipment is dangerous and has withdrawn both oscillators from use, Graham and his lawyers are still remain concerned that other companies, who have been sold the old devices by BT previously, are still putting workers at risk.

Mark Allen, an expert in tinnitus and industrial deafness claims at Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office represented Graham in his battle for justice. He said: “We are delighted for Graham that we have secured funds for his future, which will help him purchase the equipment he needs to improve his hearing.

“There are however still hundreds of engineers in the region and many more spread across the country who have used these oscillators in the past who must not be forgotten.

“We are concerned that there are still engineers who could be using these dangerous devices every day.

“It is vital that employers check their workers are not using oscillators to help prevent them from developing deafness and tinnitus. The safety of workers needs to be the main priority.

“People have the right to work and carry out their duties without fear of suffering what are distressing and avoidable injuries.”

Commenting on his injury, Graham said: “Having the buzzing in my ears is extremely distracting and frustrating. Unfortunately, the condition won’t get any better but with the settlement, I have purchased hearing aids that have dramatically improved my quality of life.

“I hope my case encourages other employers to do all they can to keep their workers safe. The equipment that is provided to workers needs to be checked to make sure tools supplied are fit for purpose.

“The consequences can be life changing and to know my hearing problems could have been avoided is a bitter pill to swallow.”

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.