Leading trade union GMB has secured £3,500 in compensation for a member who suffered from noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) after working at Alcoa Extruded Products (UK) Ltd, of Banbury, Oxfordshire. Mr Stuart Capell, aged 61, from Banbury, brought his claim after realising that his hearing had become impaired. His claim was handled by personal injury specialists Thompsons Solicitors.

Mr Capell was employed as an extrusion operative from 1974 until 2005. He initially started in the re-melt department and then moved to the extrusion department in 1975 working on the presses.

Excessive noise at work and no protection

Stuart Capell explains: "Despite the excessive noise which came from the presses and the surrounding machinery, I wasn't provided with any protection from Alcoa until the mid 80s. I realised something was wrong in November 2005, after a medical. Sadly I wasn't aware of the long term damage this could cause and I now suffer from noise induced hearing loss which affects my day to day life."

Andrea Austin from GMB, comments: "Stuart Capell is the latest victim whose hearing has been impaired for the rest of his life. Employers have been required to control noise at work for decades, and deafness has long been one of Britain's most serious occupational diseases. The latest Control of Noise at Work Regulations came into effect in April 2006. We would urge other members to come forward if they have experienced similar hearing problems as a result of noise at work."

Representing Stuart Capell, Victoria Kingscote from Thompsons Solicitors explains: "Noise remains one of the most underestimated workplace risks. Employees shouldn't see deafness as 'just one of those things'; it is usually caused - as in Stuart Capell's case - by an employer failing to provide suitable equipment and - as Stuart has learnt to his cost - has long term consequences.”