Our industrial disease solicitors helped a Worcestershire man claim compensation from three of his previous employers after he started suffering from hearing loss.
John worked as a trainee machinist for Bristol Siddeley Engines when he was young. He then went on to work for SPS Technologies Ltd as a grinder and after that he worked for Lloyd Fraser (Distribution) Ltd as a warehouse supervisor.
John’s employment at these three companies lasted from 1962 to 2002. During this time, John worked in noisy environments and often had to use machines that made loud noises. These included milling, drilling, grinding and capstan machines.
During his time at Lloyd Fraser (Distribution) Ltd, John worked in a warehouse where trucks loaded and unloaded their goods every day. The loading ramps were made of solid metal and when loaded onto the back of trucks, they made a loud banging noise every 30 seconds. Industrial fans and metal cages in the warehouse also made a lot of noise throughout the day. While working, John had to shout to communicate with his team on a daily basis.
In 2014, John started noticing that he was losing some of his hearing. He didn’t think that it was serious and he definitely didn’t think his hearing loss was from his work.
In 2017, he went for a hearing test and doctors told him that his hearing was very poor. This made John wonder if all those years in a noisy environment had something to do with his hearing loss.
John started to wear hearing aids from the NHS. But he found that their quality wasn’t very good and he struggled to hear when he was outside. He began to feel like he was missing out on a lot of things. He also battled to do normal daily activities with his poor hearing aids.
How We Helped
John contacted our solicitors to see if we could help him make a claim. John had worked at three different employers and he wasn’t sure where to start. Our team, led by Sonia Gill, investigated John’s employment at all three companies and made a claim against each of them.
We gathered witness statements and found that Bristol Siddeley Engines and SPS Technologies Ltd didn’t give John any protective equipment while he was working there. They also didn’t give John any guidance on protecting himself against noise exposure.
We also found that the same thing happened at Lloyd Fraser (Distribution) Ltd. John didn’t get any protective equipment until his last year of employment when he got earplugs. But employees didn’t get training and there were no signs in the warehouse to remind employees to be careful.
Our team also got a medical report from an ENT Surgeon. The surgeon examined John’s hearing loss and confirmed that the cause was definitely from his exposure to constant loud noises at work.
A Difficult Settlement
John’s first two employers admitted responsibility very early. We negotiated a settlement of £6000 from Bristol Siddeley Engines and £5800 from SPS Technologies Ltd.
Lloyd Fraser (Distribution) Ltd refused to settle or admit responsibility and John’s claim against them was set to go to court. To prepare for the court trial, we got an expert acoustic (sound) engineer to give evidence to strengthen John’s claim.
Our expert confirmed that Lloyd Fraser (Distribution) Ltd had a legal obligation to give its employees training and proper protective equipment. They only did this in John’s last year of employment, but it was clear that this was too late.
With this evidence, Lloyd Fraser (Distribution) Ltd agreed to settle for £5000 just a week before the trial date.
The compensation helped John pay for digital hearing aids which he couldn’t afford before. The digital hearing aids were much better quality to his NHS aids and this meant John could start enjoying being outdoors again.
John said “I’m so relieved that everything has worked out. I was really worried in the beginning because I didn’t think it was possible to make a claim against all my employers. Irwin Mitchell handled my claim efficiently and kept me in the loop all the way through.”
Sonia added, “I’m really glad we could support John through this very stressful time in his life. His hearing loss was not his fault and could have been avoided if his employers had protected him properly.”
If you or a loved one has suffered from a workplace illness, contact our team today on 0370 1500 100.
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