It was recently reported that a labourer from Tumble in South Wales has won a settlement in regards to a loss of hearing that he incurred at work, due to having not been provided with the correct ear protection for the job at hand.
Jeffrey Lewis had been employed by Thyssens in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, over two separate periods of time: the first from 1974 to 1976, and the second time from 1989 until 1992. Between those two dates, he also worked for the British Coal Corporation in the positions of stone crusher and fitter’s mate. In these various roles he was subjected to persistent loud noise from things such as jackhammers, heavy mining operations and compressors.
After noticing that his hearing had gradually – but severely – declined, he decided to contact a law firm specialising in illnesses and injuries which occur at work.
The courts decided that both employers were at fault; if he had been provided with the proper hearing protection equipment, he might not have suffered the damage to his hearing. In the end, he was awarded a “four figure” settlement.
The Long Term Effects
Because of the lack of hearing protection in his place of work, Mr Lewis started experiencing symptoms of hearing damage, namely tinnitus – a persistent ringing sound which can make it difficult to hear properly. He claims that he finds it much harder to sleep now
His problems affect his family too – he needs the volume on the television to be turned up as he struggles to hear it otherwise, and it is often too loud for his family to enjoy. He finds conversation difficult and taxing, and no longer enjoys social gatherings due to the mental strain.
He also finds it hard to keep in contact with his sister, who currently lives in the United States. Because they communicate via the telephone, Mr Lewis cannot rely on lip reading, and he therefore struggles to make out what she’s saying. This could have all been prevented by wearing proper hearing protection.
Why You Should Protect Your Hearing
Businesses have a responsibility to protect the welfare of their employees. Sadly, many don’t, even though this is breaking the law. This is why you should make sure to protect your own hearing.
First of all, if you ever have any worries or concerns about your ability to hear, you should head to a website such as www.bootshearingcare.com/hearing-tests/ and book a hearing test online. You can also book one over the phone if you prefer, and the test itself is quick and painless.
To make sure your ears are nice and safe, invest in some hearing protection. The best, and most common, things to get are ear plugs and ear muffs. They’re simple to use, and they work well and blocking out noise. Good hearing protection will have a NRR – the Noise Reduction Rating. If you work alongside loud noises for long periods of time, make sure you use something with an NRR of 25 or above.