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Justice For Site Supervisor Who Suffered Hearing Loss Due To Excessive Noise At Work

Construction Noise Causes Permanent Partial Deafness


Workplace injury experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell are warning of the dangers posed by working in loud environments after securing justice for a chemical plant supervisor left partially deaf when his employers failed to provide him with appropriate hearing protection.

John Sharpe, from Barry in South Glamorgan, now requires a hearing aid due to damage caused by the noise of cranes and hammering that was so loud he had to shout to communicate when he worked for Fluor Limited from 1967 to 1982 as a Foreman and later, a Site Supervisor.

Devastated by the condition which left him struggling to participate in conversations with his four children, the 77-year-old instructed expert injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell, who have now secured him a four-figure settlement to cover the cost of his hearing aids.

Sarah Tagg, who specialises in industrial deafness claims at Irwin Mitchell, said: “John was never warned or advised about the dangers of noise-induced hearing loss or provided with any protective equipment during his employment.

“This case highlights the importance of health and safety policies and employers have a duty of care to their staff which includes providing full protective equipment and educating them on potential hazards. The damage done by such loud industrial noise is irreversible, and means that John is now forced to suffer for the rest of his life.

“The cost of hearing aids can run into the thousands, and even then will not provide perfect hearing for the wearer – meaning other adaptations need to be made, such as specially developed telephones, doorbells and alarm systems. The victims of noise induced hearing loss are in this position through no fault of their own so it is only fair that they are provided with the necessary funds which will improve their quality of life.”

John said: “The chemical plants sites I worked at when employed by Fluor Limited were very loud, with the cranes and hammering constantly producing a lot of noise, so much so that I used to have to shout to communicate with my colleagues.

“Not being able to hear things can be really frustrating, and can be distressing when it keeps happening. It has had an impact on my confidence and I feel sorry for my family, who I have to ask to repeat themselves or speak up all the time. I struggle on the telephone and miss parts of TV programmes because I cannot hear what is being said. It’s hard not to feel angry knowing this could have been prevented.

“Having good hearing isn’t really something you notice until you don’t have it and as my hearing has gradually got worse it has definitely made certain things more difficult, such as listening to announcements.

“Nothing can turn back the clock, but I’m just relieved to finally get some justice for what happened to me and be able to move on with my life.”

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.