Process Operator Wins £5,000 – Factory Machinery Hearing Loss
What was the Hearing Loss Claim?
Our client was employed as a process operator for his first employer from 1978 to 1988. After which, he was employed in the same capacity by a Second Employer from 1996 to 1999. With the legal expertise of AWH’s industrial disease solicitors, he was able to make a claim against both employers for hearing loss caused by factory machinery.
Our client would complete numerous duties across the factory site. His role involved the manufacturing of film-type products. During his day, he would either work with factory machinery or stand nearby. He was employed at his first employer’s site on Salters Lane in Stockton on Tees in the main factory where approximately 250 other employees were located. Additionally, our client recalls that he would be expected to work 40 hours per week across 5 days. However, he would often work regular overtime which could take his daily hours from 8 hours per day to 12 hours per day.
The Claimant would perform several tasks throughout the day, using factory machinery. As a process operator, he did not have formal exact duties.
The Factory Machinery that Led to Hearing Loss
In the factory, our client was exposed to noise from the following pieces of machinery during the day of his shift:
- forklift trucks and their sirens.
He would use the above pieces of machinery during his shifts. Additionally, the mixing machines were only 10 feet away from his normal workplace. This was unless he was operating the mixer which he stood about 6 inches away from.
The mixers were used for mixing resin and plasticizers. Additionally, they were stabilized to produce blown film. The machines were powered by 3-phase twin-speed electric motors 2 feet in diameter which were extremely noisy. The granulators/grinders were used to grind up scrap PVC. The scrap PVC was fed through a funnel resembling a ship’s funnel. This process was also very loud and contributed to our client’s hearing loss. The extruders were approximately 14 feet long containing a 3-inch screw that forced PVC compound under high pressure into a die. From there it was blown into a bubble, which ended up on a revolving table and wound up on rolls. There were 8 tables and 4 extruders and 4 mixers.
Finally, compressed air was used throughout the factory also contributed to the noise in the factory.
Our client claims they were exposed to the noise throughout the day when using the machinery directly and when in proximity to other tables and machines that were in the vicinity. The only time he would get respite from the noise would be during his breaks which were 30 minutes for lunch. His smoking breaks still had exposure to loud noise as the machines were still in operation.
How Lack of Training and Hearing Protection Can Result in a Loss of Hearing
Our client was not given any training in regard to noise in the workplace or how to combat being exposed to noise during his shifts. Additionally, he was not provided with any form of personal protection equipment such as ear plugs or earmuffs.
A medical report was obtained from an ENT Consultant to establish the level of hearing loss that the Claimant had. The report showed our client has 8.4 dB of loss attributable to noise with no reported tinnitus.
Your Employer’s Responsibility to Prevent Hearing Loss Caused at Work
Under the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005, businesses are required to protect the health and safety of all their employees by managing noise levels in the workplace to prevent hearing loss.
If your workplace has a lot of loud noise, your employer should:
- Act to reduce noise exposure
- Provide protective equipment
- Ensure legal limits of noise exposure are not exceeded
- Monitor and maintain all equipment and machinery
- Provide health and safety information and training to all staff exposed to noisy environments
- Carry out health surveillance on employees at risk
Therefore, if your employer is failing to adhere to the above responsibilities, they are likely failing to protect you, which could result in your hearing loss.
Factory Machinery Hearing Loss Compensation Claims
If your employer’s negligence has caused you to suffer from permanent or disabling hearing damage, we can help you claim compensation. Start your workplace hearing loss compensation with AWH today on a no-win, no-fee basis.Get a free assessment
Hear more about the member(s) of our team featured above:
- Craig Alexander Johnson Apprentice Solicitor view profile