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Steel Forger Awarded Settlement After Suffering Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Irwin Mitchell Secures Settlement From Steel Worker's Former Employers


A man who suffered noise-induced hearing loss as a result of working at a noisy British Steel works for nine years in the 1970s without any hearing protection has been awarded a four-figure settlement to cover the costs of the hearing equipment he will now require for the rest of his life.

Michael McHale, 65, suffered hearing damage while working in the Spring Shop on Shepcote Lane, Sheffield, where he operated cutting, bending, forming, rolling and grinding machines to manufacture metal springs.

He was also exposed to excessive levels of noise from other similar machines operating near him, as well as forklift trucks, gas furnaces, overhead cranes and shot-blasting machinery.

The father-of-four instructed specialist workplace illness lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his condition and expert medical evidence revealed that his hearing deteriorated as a result of the noise he was exposed to as he was never provided with any ear protection at the steelworks.

He recalled that during his time at British Steel the environment was so loud that he and his colleagues would be forced to shout over the noise of the machinery or use hand signals to communicate.

Michael, from Netheredge in Sheffield also suffers with tinnitus, which means an intermittent ringing occurs even when there is no obvious source of noise.

Irwin Mitchell has now secured Michael an undisclosed out-of-court four-figure settlement from his former employer although the organisation denied liability for the hearing loss.

Sarah Tagg, an industrial illness expert at Irwin Mitchell representing Michael, said: “Noise-induced hearing loss is a very serious problem for those affected by it. It is extremely easy to avoid for employers but we regularly come across cases like this, where workers spend long periods of time in an excessively noisy environment without the correct hearing protection.

“Hearing loss can have a huge impact on the day-to-day lives of those affected and we have regularly called for improvements in the way companies handle their safety responsibilities to ensure others do not suffer in the same way Michael is.

“We are delighted to have been able to secure a settlement in this case that will ensure Michael is able to access the hearing devices he will need.”

Michael said: “My hearing, which has deteriorated, has had a massive impact on my daily life. It can be a real struggle to hear people in general conversation and I constantly have to ask friends and family to repeat themselves.

“The fact these problems are related to the noise I was exposed to at work is very upsetting and I’m angry that more wasn’t done to warn us of the dangers of exposure and more wasn’t done to protect us.

“Safety standards have improved dramatically now, but for people of my generation, this came too late and I, and others like me, are suffering the consequences of poor safety standards.”

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.

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