A Unite the Union member who suffered long term hearing loss after being exposed to excessive noise at work has received a substantial sum in compensation.

Paul Harvey, 52, from Bradford on Avon, has to wear a hearing aid and suffers from tinnitus following exposure to excessive noise while working for Avon Vibration Management Systems in Chippenham.

Paul has worked for the car components firm as a machine operator for 30 years. He worked with a number of noisy machines in the firm's factories in Bradford on Avon and Trowbridge during the 1970’s and 80s.

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

He first noticed problems with his hearing a number of years ago but it has become progressively worse in recent years. His tinnitus means he hears a constant ringing sound and he finds it difficult to hear when there is background noise.

He decided to claim compensation after discovering his father had also suffered hearing problems after working for the same employer.

He contacted his union Unite which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.

Employers admitted liability

Thompsons was successful in settling the claim out of court after Avon VMS admitted liability.

Paul said: “I have suffered from hearing problems for a number of years, but put it down to growing older. Recently it has got worse and when I found out about my father's problems I realised that my work had caused my problems and decided to pursue compensation.

“The tinnitus is constant and can become irritating. I now find it difficult to socialise because I cannot hear what people are saying to me if there is a lot of background noise.”

Employers have a duty to protect their employees

John McGookin, regional officer at Unite said: “We are pleased we have been able to help Mr Harvey claim compensation for his hearing loss. Exposure to excessive noise is a problem faced by many of our members and employers have a duty to ensure their employees are safeguarded against it.”

Alastair Elliot from Thompsons Solicitors said: “Deafness is often associated with ageing, but for those who have worked in manufacturing, exposure to excessive noise can be a very real cause of hearing loss which they must cope with for the rest of their life.

“In those cases it is only right that they are compensated for their disability.”