Noise-induced deafness and tinnitus
A college lecturer has been left with permanent damage to his hearing after being exposed to excessive noise at work.
Malcolm Hipkin, 65, from Gateshead received damages after he was diagnosed with noise-induced deafness and tinnitus.
He was exposed to excessive noise while working at Gateshead College during the 1960s and 70s.
He lectured in motor vehicle body work and was often in the workshop for 8 hours at a time teaching classes of students how to use impact chisels, a type of pneumatic tool.
Mr Hipkin worked for the college for 41 years but has now retired.
He went to his doctor who told him he needed a hearing aid. Sometime later he was advised by the University and College Union (UCU) health and safety rep at the college that his hearing loss was likely to be as a result of his work.
Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation
The UCU instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.
Gateshead College admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.
Mr Hipkin said: “People told me for a number of years that I was going deaf but I didn’t believe them.
“We weren’t provided with hearing protection and the room wasn’t sound-proofed but we were being exposed to the noise over a long period of time most days.”
Sally Hunt UCU general secretary said: “This case shows how occupational deafness can affect those working in a number of different industries. Employers must be aware of their responsibilities to ensure their staff are given the correct hearing protection to avoid exposure to excessive noise.”
Michelle Reid Mitchell from Thompsons Solicitors added: “Hearing loss can have a profound impact on the lifestyle and confidence of those exposed. Those who are negligently exposed to excessive noise are entitled to pursue a claim for compensation.”
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