Leading trade union Unite (Amicus section) has secured £4,000 in compensation for a member who suffered from noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) accumulated over many years.  Mr Malcolm Goddard, aged 60, of Goole, North Humberside, brought his claim after realising that his hearing had become severely impaired, struggling to hear normal conversations and suffering from ringing in both ears.  His claim was handled by leading personal injury specialists Thompsons Solicitors.

Less than a year ago, the RNID - the national charity representing the UK’s nine million deaf and hard of hearing people – warned employers and employees to take hearing damage more seriously in preparation for the  Control of Noise at Work Regulations which  came into effect on 6 April 2006. These tighter Noise at Work regulations were intended to provide improved protection for workers from one of Britain’s most serious occupational diseases.   

In 1972 Mr Goddard went to work at Corus, Scunthorpe where he was exposed to excessive noise. As a result, he suffered accumulative noise induced hearing loss and now has difficulty hearing everyday conversations and the television. 

Mr Goddard explains: “The noise on site was deafening. Noise was transmitted from the machines used to roll the steel. There were 2 furnaces, underground hydraulics and a roughing mill. I received hearing protection in 1990 but it was only in 1995 that hearing protection became compulsory.   It was not until June 2005 when I changed jobs and went onto Quality Control in a noisy environment working outside that I noticed a problem with my hearing and in particular a hissing in my right ear.”

Yorkshire & Humberside Regional Secretary for Unite (Amicus section), Bernard McAulay comments: “Noise is still one of the most underestimated workplace risks so we are very pleased with the outcome of this case.  It demonstrates the value of trade union membership. Unite (Amicus section) is a leading union that seeks to protect and support people at work and helps secure compensation pay outs for its members when things go wrong.”

Representing Malcolm Goddard, Nikki Sharpe from Thompsons Solicitors in Sheffield explains: “Sadly Malcolm Goddard’s employers did not provide him with suitable equipment to protect his hearing and he was unfortunate enough to experience unacceptably high and continuous levels of noise which over the years has seriously impaired his hearing.”

According to the Health and Safety Executive - http://www.hse.gov.uk/noise/index.htm - around 170,000 people in the UK suffer from deafness or other ear problems due to excessive noise at work.