Former Sheet Metal Worker Needs Hearing Aids ‘Years Earlier Than Expected’
A Leeds man who needs hearing aids much earlier than expected after spending several years working in noisy factory environments for the Ministry of Defence is looking to the future following news that lawyers have secured him a settlement regarding the problems.
Chris Duffy, 59, started to develop issues with his hearing around three years ago and while he initially put the issue down to ageing, he went on to realise that it could potentially be linked to his time working for the MoD at factories across Yorkshire during the 1970s.
He went on to instruct specialist workplace illness lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his work history, with the experts subsequently launching legal action alleging that the MoD failed to adequately protect Chris from the risks of working in a noisy environment.
Now, after the specialists secured him a four-figure settlement from the MoD regarding his hearing loss, Chris is calling on others affected by similar issues to not suffer in silence.
Sarah Tagg, the workplace illness expert at Irwin Mitchell’s Sheffield office who represents Chris, said:
“This terrible case is like so many that we are involved in, with our client developing hearing loss as a result of failings which should have easily been avoided.
“As a result of the problems, Chris has required hearing aids much earlier than expected and his case must serve as a reminder to employers of the need to always assess all potential risks which could arise within a workplace.
“While we are delighted to have helped Chris secure justice, it is vital that the issues he has faced are never repeated again in the future.”
Chris worked for the MoD’s Royal Ordnance Factory as an apprentice sheet metal worker between 1975 and 1980, with his role involving work at a range of sites including Barnbow, Crossgates and others across Yorkshire and the Humber.
He recalled: “The company manufactured tanks and I was exposed to high levels of noise every day, with my tasks involving bending and cutting metal with a range of machinery.
“With my colleagues using similar systems in close proximity and the presence of vehicles on-site, the environment was always extremely noisy. You would have to shout to colleagues who were literally stood next to you, yet I was never offered any ear protection or warned of the dangers of working in high levels of noise.
“I never thought I was placed at any risk or had suffered in any way until a few years ago, when my wife repeatedly got frustrated that I did not hear her. I was also asking people to speak louder and repeat things quite a lot. While I initially thought it was just ageing I was stunned to be told I needed aids around seven to 12 years earlier than expected.
“It is hugely frustrating to think these issues have been caused by my work and, while nothing will change what has happened to me, I hope lessons can be learned from this.
“News of the settlement is welcome and means I am feeling more positive about the future, but I would urge anyone else who thinks they are experiencing similar issues to come forward and not suffer on their own.”