Industrial Illness Experts Say Health And Safety Must Be Top Priority For Employers
A Carlisle man forced to work in conditions so loud he had to shout to colleagues just two feet away has spoken of his horror at losing his hearing as a result of not being provided with protective equipment.
Alan Hodgson suffers tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss that leaves him with ‘constant ringing’ in his ears and now says he wants to raise awareness of the conditions which left him needing hearing aids years before he should have required them.
The 70-year-old says he now struggles to hear in family conversations and feels like he misses out on catching up with what everyone has been up to.
But, with help from industrial illness specialists at Irwin Mitchell, Alan has now been awarded a four-figure settlement from his past employer for the hearing loss he suffered through no fault of his own.
Alan suffered his injuries during his work at Courtaulds Textiles, based at their premises on Nelson Street in Carlisle, where he was employed from 1971-1980 as a Weaving Machine Operator and was exposed to excessive noise from over 30 weaving machines.
The noise levels were so high that he would have to shout to colleagues to be heard two to three feet away and use hand gestures and lip read to communicate.
Sarah Tagg, an Industrial Deafness expert who has helped the dad-of-three in his battle for justice, said: “Alan was not provided with ear protection throughout all of his working life. This has meant that, through no fault of his own, he’s been left with partial, permanent deafness and ringing in his ears, which affects his day-to-day routine.
“Employees health and safety must be a top priority. Employers must ensure that noise exposure in workplaces is kept to a minimum and, crucially, to ensure ear protection is provided for employers for the duration of their careers.”
Alan said: “I’ll never forget how loud it was working in the factory but, back then, I had no idea it would cause me problems in later life.
“I started struggling with hearing loss seven or eight years ago but I put this down to getting older. But, last summer, I went for a hearing test and was told I had some hearing loss and it may be due to working in high levels of noise.
“I now have to have the TV turned up louder and ask people to repeat themselves in conversation which is very irritating. I feel like I’m missing out in family conversations and can’t be part of it like I used to.
“I have to live with a constant ringing and high pitched buzzing noise in my ears and require a hearing aid which I would not have needed so soon if I had not been exposed to noisy conditions at work.
“It’s so frustrating to think that simple steps could have been taken that could have protected me, that wouldn’t mean I’ll have to struggle with my hearing for the rest of my life.
“I hope by speaking out about my story employers will be encouraged to provide safety equipment to their employees and for workers to speak out if they think they’re not being properly looked after.”
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.