Employers failed to provide appropriate protection against noisy working environments
A former electrician and welder has been awarded more than £6,000 in compensation after developing industrial deafness.
The 58-year-old from Bath, who is a member of the RMT, was employed as an apprentice electrician by Stothert & Pitt in the 1970s. Between 1972 and 1977 he worked in a noisy environment and was exposed to excessive levels of noise from machines in the foundry, fitting shop, plating and pump shop.
Later in his career, as a welder for Isis Plant between 1979 and 1984, his exposure to loud noise continued as he worked repairing and servicing construction equipment.
At no point during his career was the RMT member provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) for his ears by his employers.
Member developed severe tinnitus
As a result of the prolonged exposure to industrial noise he developed tinnitus, a constant, painful ringing in his ear. The symptoms became so bad he sought medical advice and his consultant diagnosed him with noise induced deafness.
“Some days the ringing in my ear is unbearable,” said the former electrician.
Ear protection was never provided
“At the time, those of us working in the factories weren’t offered any protection or even warned of the dangers of the level of noise that we were exposed to – you just had to get on with it. But years later I am left with a lifelong condition that affects me every day.”
After seeking medical advice he contacted his union, RMT, to discuss making a claim. He was put in touch with Thompsons Solicitors who investigated his case.
Mick Cash, Acting General Secretary of the RMT, said: “Our member’s hearing loss could have been avoided had he been given adequate hearing protection and told about the dangers he faced from prolonged exposure to loud noise.”
Ian Cross, from Thompsons Solicitors who represented the RMT member, said: “It is unreasonable that anyone should be exposed to excessive noise without having ear protection. Tinnitus can have a profound effect on the lives of sufferers, and yet for this client, as for so many others, it was easily avoidable had the employer provided basic safety equipment.”
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