Former Mill Worker Wins Compensation for Hearing Loss

Posted: 10th September 2011

A former weaver who was exposed to excessive levels of noise at work has been awarded compensation after suffering damage to his hearing.

Mr McKinley had been employed as a weaver at a textiles firm in Milnrow, Lancashire, from 1969 to 1970, and had also worked as a spinner and weaver at a textiles firm in Rochdale between 1978 and 1982. He was exposed to high levels of noise from the looms, spinning frames and winding machinery. The ambient noise was so loud that he could only communicate with his co-workers using gestures or by lip-reading.
Neither of his employers provided ear protection; nor did they warn him that his hearing might be damaged by exposure to the noise.
Mr McKinley now has mild to moderate hearing loss and suffers from moderate tinnitus, a ringing sound in the ears which is commonly caused by noise-induced hearing loss.
The two textiles firms agreed to pay Mr McKinley damages of over £3,000 in an out-of-court settlement. Mr McKinley is also pursuing three further claims against other previous employers.
Employers have a legal duty to assess and control the risks posed to employees by environmental noise that cannot be eliminated. In April 2006, the allowable noise exposure limits were tightened up by the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 in an attempt to reduce what has been described as the next great public health epidemic. Employees who are likely to be exposed to noise must be provided with information and training on the attendant risks and informed of the steps that can be taken to minimise them.
If you work in a noisy environment, we recommend that you have your hearing tested regularly by a qualified audiologist. If you are suffering from noise-induced hearing loss as a result of exposure to high noise levels at work, contact us for claims advice.
Health and safety information on noise in the workplace is available from the Health and Safety Executive at http://www.hse.gov.uk/noise/.