Workplace Injury Lawyers Call For Improved Hearing Protection For Employees After Securing Settlement
A retired tyre factory worker, left with major hearing damage after nearly 30 years of exposure to loud noise in his former workplace, has spoken of the need for workers to be given the correct protection, after securing a four-figure settlement in relation to the problems he has endured.
James Hooton, 82, of Chesterton, Staffordshire, suffers from tinnitus and partial hearing in both ears after being exposed to excessive levels of noise whilst working at Michelin Tyre Co Ltd, Camble Road, Stoke, between 1958 and 1986.
The 82-year-old widower instructed workplace injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell in his battle for justice over the noise exposure and the experts, although liability was never admitted, helped him secure a four-figure settlement from his former employers which will allow him to access specialist equipment to aid his hearing.
During his employment, James repaired tyres for Michelin and claims he was exposed to noise from overhead motors, rubber cutting machines and drills without being provided with the correct ear protection.
Over time, James’s hearing deteriorated and an ENT (ear, nose and throat) consultant confirmed that he suffered from tinnitus and partial hearing loss in January this year.
According to James, the gradual loss of hearing has significantly affected his life as he battles with the frustration of constantly mishearing people in conversation and asking them to repeat what they have said.
Sarah Tagg, the legal expert in industrial deafness cases at Irwin Mitchell who helped him secure the settlement, said: “It would appear from our evidence that James was never provided with the appropriate protective equipment, or warned about the dangers of noise-induced hearing loss during his time at Michelin Tyres.
“Employers have a duty of care to their staff and this is another case that proves just how health and safety measures, such as the provision of full protective equipment and the assessment of risks, can be vitally important in the workplace.
“James requires hearing aids because of the damage caused working around machinery that made excessive noise for 28 years, without the adequate protection.
“Losing your hearing is an extremely frustrating and upsetting thing to happen, it is an extremely important sense and the loss of hearing can significantly affect a person’s life.
“Making the changes and adaptations such as specially developed telephones and hearing aids can prove extremely costly. We hope this settlement for James will help to improve his quality of life.”
Former tyre worker James said: “I worked alongside some very loud machinery for a long period of my life and I remember having to shout just to have a normal conversation with my colleagues.
“I find it extremely frustrating now that I can’t have a conversation with my friends and family without asking them to repeat themselves. My television is turned up to the highest setting but that is the only way I can hear it.
“Looking back, I wish I had been given the right protection so this could have been avoided. I hope this highlights to other companies just how important providing the appropriate safety equipment is and that action is taken to make sure this problem doesn’t happen to others.”
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.