Successful Hearing Loss Claim

WMDCW have recently recovered compensation for a client who was exposed to excessive noise while working in the clothing industry and for a number of small construction companies.

Our client’s first noisy employment was as an apprentice weaver. He was employed in a workshop where there were ten large industrial looms. Our client’s job was to work on two of the looms, loading cartridges, tying ends off and ensuring the looms were running as they should.

The noise from the looms was so loud that if our client wanted to communicate with his colleagues, he had to shout in order to be heard.

In this job our client was provided with sponge ear plugs. However these were not adequate to block out the noise. Our client was not shown how to correctly insert the ear plugs and the use of them was not enforced.

Our client then worked in the construction industry for several years. His worked on many different construction projects including:

  • Renewing old drainage pipes in the South-East of England. This involved working in confined spaces with heavy machinery operating nearby. In addition our client himself used stihl saws, jackhammers, breakers and excavators.
  • Being contracted to work for a water treatment company in Manchester. Our client worked in the vicinity of large machinery including mini diggers, 40 tonne concrete breakers and smaller concrete breakers known as FL22s.
  • Working carrying out groundwork, steel work, pipe laying and concrete work. In this job our client used breakers, stihl saws and kango guns. Also contributing to the noise were other people using FL22 concrete breakers.

In all of our client’s construction work he either had to shout to be heard by colleagues, or the noise was so loud that he would not be able to make himself heard at all.

Our client was not provided with any hearing protection during his time in the construction industry.

As a result of his exposure to excessive noise, our client started to suffer with ringing in his ears, which is known as tinnitus. He also started to notice that he was struggling to hear the television and needed to turn it up louder than his girlfriend wanted. He also struggled to hear conversations when he was in a large group of people, or where there was background noise.

When we pursued our client’s claim, the defendants disputed liability. We were however able to establish that each employer was in breach of their legal duties to our client.

We instructed a specialist ENT Consultant who provided a report confirming that our client’s hearing loss and tinnitus were noise induced.

Our client was also a soldier in the army for several years. The defendants alleged that his army service would have contributed to our client’s hearing loss and tinnitus. We obtained our client’s army records. These confirmed that he never saw active service. Also, whenever he trained with guns, artillery, or other loud equipment, he wore both foam earplugs and ear defenders.

The defendants had to accept that our client’s army service had not contributed to his hearing difficulties.

We had to issue court proceedings against the defendants, but we were able to agree a settlement of our client’s claim with having to go to court for a trial.

Our client received just under £7,000 compensation.

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