Nov
21
2014

Compensation for hearing loss and tinnitus for brewery worker

What’s My Deafness Claim Worth have recently settled a claim for a client who sustained noise induced hearing loss and mild tinnitus as a result of exposure to excessive noise at work in the 1990s.

Our client worked for nine years at the Bass Brewery in Cardiff, where he worked in very loud conditions all of the time, carrying out a number of different industrial processes.

Our client’s role involved him cleaning brewing tanks which he described as a very noisy process. The large stainless steel tanks caused the noise to echo around. When tanks were being cleaned our client would have to shout to be heard by his colleagues over the noise.

Each brewing cycle would have a “core blow” where yeast was removed from the beer. This involved an extremely loud whistle which continued for about three minutes, and ended with a loud bang. This took place around three times each shift. When the core blow was happening, it was impossible for our client to communicate at all with his colleagues.

Our client also worked in a pump room, where the beer was pumped using centrifugal force. Again, this was a noisy place to work and our client had considerable difficulties communicating with his colleagues. This is unsurprising as the noise in this room reached 120dB, louder than a rock concert or a screaming baby.

Our client contacted us to pursue a claim after he started noting ringing in his ears and problems hearing. We investigated these problems and took our client’s history of noise exposure into account. We concluded that our client’s hearing problems were likely to be noise induced. This was then confirmed by a report from a specialist ENT consultant.

We also took the view that our client’s hearing loss and tinnitus was caused by the negligent approach of his employer. Our client was provided with sponge ear plugs, but these were inadequate in protecting him from the noise. Our client was never trained in how to properly fit the earplugs, nor was he ever provided with any properly fitted ear defenders, which would have provided a much better level of protection from the noise.

When we submitted our client’s claim, liability was denied by the defendant. It is rare for defendants in noise induced hearing loss cases to admit liability. Often they are unable to carry out investigations into a claim, if the noise exposure was a long time ago.

However, denying liability is usually just a tactical move by defendants who will frequently agree to pay compensation even if they are not able to formally admit liability for a claim.

In this case, we were able to establish that our client had a strong claim and the defendant agreed to pay £7,000 compensation to our client.

If you have worked in a noisy environment and think your hearing might have been affected, please contact us for free advice on 0800 849 8700.

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