Rail industry trade union RMT has secured compensation for a Kent member whose hearing was damaged while working at Bombardier Transportation UK Ltd. William Wilkinson, aged 59, from Ashford, Kent, claimed compensation because he was not supplied with hearing protection until after the damage was done.

His claim was handled by RMT law firm and leading personal injury specialists Thompsons Solicitors.

Mr Wilkinson, who is still employed by Bombardier Transportation UK Ltd, secured £6,000 damages as a result of his exposure to excessive noise from 1989 to 2002. It was not until 2002 that he was supplied with hearing protection.

Will need Hearing Aids

William Wilkinson explains: “I have suffered a deterioration in my hearing as a result of my employment. I now have trouble hearing conversations with people. My wife is always telling me to turn the TV or the radio down as I have it at a higher volume. I’ve also been told that my hearing will deteriorate further with time and that in due course I will need the assistance of hearing aids.”

RMT general secretary Bob Crow comments: “Our members face many hazards in the course of their work. Noise is one where simple protective equipment can protect them from injury. Yet William Wilkinson is one of many rail workers to suffer hearing loss as a result of the failure of his employer to provide that protection. We would urge other members to come forward if they have experienced similar hearing problems as a result of noise at work.”

Representing William Wilkinson, Vincent Reynolds from Thompsons Solicitors explains: “Noise remains one of the most underestimated workplace risks. It is important that where someone believes that they may have sustained hearing damage at work that they seek legal advice as soon as possible. They will only have 3 years from the date of injury or the date that they reasonable knew, or ought to have known, of the injury to bring a claim. Time is therefore of the essence.”