Our team of Industrial Illness expert lawyers secured £7,000 for a machine worker who suffered extensive noise damage throughout his career as a machine operator for a well-known car company. The company had initially offered less than half this amount as compensation.
Our client, Mr Hussein, began working as a machinist for the company in the late 70s. Across his career he worked across a number of different sites, with a variety of machinery, but almost always in an environment that was excessively loud, with little regard given to hearing protection.
Mr Hussein describes the noise levels as ‘horrendous’. He and his colleagues could only hear one another by shouting across the shop floor. If the foreman needed to speak to someone he would have to signal to them to come into a separate room or down a corridor, away from the noise.
At every site he worked on, our client would ask about hearing protection. Sometimes it was provided, sometimes not – but it would always be on the workers themselves to request it. Some sites displayed posters cautioning against the dangers of hearing damage, but no training was provided and protection was not enforced.
He left the company in 2004 and then faced a long period of unemployment. In 2008 he went to see his doctor about the onset of tinnitus, a continuous ringing in the ears that affects people who have been exposed to high levels of noise for a long time. He had his ears syringed to clear out painful build-up of wax, but the tinnitus returned.
By 2010 Mr Hussein started to notice his hearing deteriorate significantly. His wife noted how he turned the TV up much louder than before, and he found himself constantly having to ask people to repeat themselves. The ringing in his ears was there all the time.
Initially our client wrote this off as the symptoms of ageing – but after a friend suggested it could be the result of industrial exposure to a loud environment he underwent a hearing test in 2013. The test confirmed that he was in fact suffering from noise damage.
Mr Hussein approached Irwin Mitchell to see if we could help him get compensation for the damage to his health as a result of his employer’s negligence. Investigating his claim we found that the company was indeed liable for Mr Hussein’s condition, having failed to adequately provide him with protection during his employment.
A week before the trial was due to commence, the company offered a compensation sum of just over £3,000. We did not think this properly reflected the damage to Mr Hussein’s health, nor the extent to which it would further deteriorate over time.
Our expert Industrial Illness lawyers pushed that sum up to a final settlement of £7,000. This allowed Mr Hussein both compensation for the damage he had suffered, and provision for the care and support he will need in the future as his hearing continues to worsen.
Representing him was Industrial Illness specialist Alex Shorey, who said: “This case shows the importance of providing employees with the right training and protection throughout their careers. Employers have a duty of care to their workers to ensure they have the right equipment to do their job safely and without fear for their future health. Mr Hussein’s case is a sad example of the lax attitude of some companies – however, we’re very pleased to have secured this settlement, which will at least ensure he has the capacity to get the support and care he needs to cope with his ongoing hearing loss."
If you've suffered hearing loss or developed a a long term illness because of your working environment, we could help you make a claim for compensation. Head to our Industrial Illness section to find out more - or call us today on 0370 1500 100 for a free, no-obligation consultation.
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