A GMB member who was exposed to dangerous levels of noise by three different employers has been compensated following help from Thompsons Solicitors.

John Walton, 46, from Penrith has received £12,750 in damages after suffering occupational deafness.

His hearing became damaged when working for British Steel Corporation, now known as Corus from 1978 to 1983. Darchem Projects Limited from 1985 to 1987 and Turbros Engineering from 1987 to 2007.

Medical diagnosed hearing loss

The welder worked in a noisy environment for all three employers and was diagnosed with hearing loss after a medical in 2007.

He said he’d had a problem with his hearing for a number of years but it wasn’t until he had the medical that he realised the extent.

After his diagnosis he was advised by a colleague to pursue compensation.

Welder worked in noisy environment

He contacted his union, the GMB, which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors.

All three employers admitted liability and a settlement was agreed out of court.

Mr Walton said: “As a welder I worked in an environment which was constantly noisy. We were never warned that we might become deaf as a result of our work.

“I’m not even 50 yet but already I find it difficult to hear when there is background noise and it can be embarrassing in a social situation. By claiming compensation I wanted to warn others to demand adequate protection for their ears when working in a noisy environment.”

Exposed to excessive noise in the workplace

Billy Coates from the GMB said: “Loss of hearing affects many of our members who have been negligently exposed to excessive levels of noise in the workplace. Often their hearing problems can go unnoticed for a long time.

“It is only right that those deafened through their employer’s negligence should be compensated for the long term damage to their hearing.”

Linda Redhead from Thompsons Solicitors added: “Many employees who suffer from loss of hearing do not realise it has been caused by their work. Many think it is just part of ageing. However, where workers have been exposed to excessive levels of noise in the workplace they are entitled to pursue a claim for compensation.”