Ferry workers warned about hearing risks17 March 2010
Diagnosed with Occupational Deafness
An RMT member who was exposed to dangerous levels of noise by his employer has been compensated following help from Thompsons Solicitors.
Peter Hall, 49, from Liverpool has received a substantial sum in damages after suffering from occupational deafness while working on the vehicle decks of ferries.
Peter is now warning other RMT members who worked in the ferry industry to consider having their hearing tested as he believes many will have been affected by the working conditions.
Peter's hearing became damaged while working for Stena Line in Holyhead for 18 years.
He worked on the car decks loading and unloading lorries which were crossing the Irish Sea.
Not provided with any ear protection
He was never provided with protection for his ears while working in an enclosed space among engine noise.
He knew he had hearing difficulties for ten years before he went to the doctor where it was confirmed.
He raised the problem with the union and they instructed Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation.
Stena Line denied liability but Thompsons secured a settlement out of court.
Hearing loss is a common problem in heavy industrial workplaces
Peter said: "I knew I had hearing difficulties for a long time but only did something about it when it got so bad I couldn't ignore it anymore. Even when I was diagnosed I put it down to getting older but when I started working for the union I realised my hearing was never protected while at Stena and decided to pursue compensation.
"I reckon that there are many former ferry industry workers who suffer from hearing loss but have not considered that it may have been caused by their work."
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "Hearing loss affects many of our members working in noisy environments and like Peter they often put it down to getting older. As Peter’s case shows members who have worked in a noisy environment and who have been diagnosed with hearing problems should get in touch."
Matthew Tollitt from Thompsons Solicitors added: "Hearing loss is a common problem in heavy industrial work places and typically follows work alongside or with high decibel tools. Here the combination of working in an enclosed space and engine noise should have caused the employer’s to provide ear protection for Mr Hall, their failure to do so meant they were responsible for his deafness."
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