Damages for hearing loss

Damages awarded against Department of Transport for former worker’s hearing damage Trial Result: The High Court has ruled that the Department of Transport (DfT) is liable to pay compensation to the family of a man who suffered from industrial deafness as a result of working on steam railways in the 1960s. John Wignall, who died in 2014, was employed from the late 1950s until 1966 as a fireman on the footplate of steam trains, and was struck by industrial deafness in his later years. In a statement before his death, Mr Wignall said the trains were so noisy that he had to shout to be heard by colleagues standing only two feet away. His lawyers began a damages claim against the government in 2012. His family continued with the claim after Mr Wignall’s death. On 4 July 2016 at the High Court, Judge Philip Butler ruled the Department of Transport liable to pay compensation to Mr Wignall’s family. Rejecting arguments that the claim had been brought too late, the judge said it was only late in life that Mr Wignall had made the link between his work on the railways and his deafness. He said British Rail, Mr Wignall’s employer at the time, had ‘guilty knowledge’ of the risk of industrial deafness from 1961 or 1962 onwards, but had not done enough to warn its footplate workers. Comprehensive noise surveys should have been carried out by the middle of 1962 and workers given information and training to protect themselves. He ruled that Mr Wignall’s lawyers had proved his deafness was, at least in part, due to ‘hazardous noise exposure’ on the railways. He valued the overall claim at £6,000, but ruled that only a relatively small proportion of blame was attributable to British Rail. LNB News 04/07/2016 188/Lexis Nexis

Miners industrial deafness compensation claim

Occupational noise induced deafness sufferer, Mr H, wins damages of £3000 through Nigel Askew Solicitor who specialises in British Coal and NCB deafness claims.

Mr J was exposed to excessive levels of noise whilst working in the coal mining industry for British Coal and the National Coal Board (NCB) between 1961 to 1965 at Shilbottle Colliery, Northumberland after undergoing general mining and underground training including at Ashington Colliery Training Centre. He performed general duties on bank, including a spell on the noisy coal screens. Whilst working in the fitter’s shop he was subjected to loud mechanical and metallic noises from the maintenance and testing of colliery equipment following repair, the use of very heavy hammers striking steel plates, chisels etc. He also worked within the locomotive yard, assisting in the repair and maintenance of the locomotives which was also a very noisy environment. He also worked underground at the coalface, where he was subjected to the noise of explosions, from planned explosive detonations, heavy mining machinery, including coal cutters, pumps, large underground air circulation fans, large gear heads, conveyor belt systems, pneumatic drills etc.

Although these areas were known by the NCB to be very noisy, he was not provided with any hearing protection at all!

Industrial Deafness Compensation Claims Solicitors in the north east, Tyne and Wear, Newcastle, Teesside, Middlesbrough
As a result he now suffers from minor noise induced hearing loss assessed at only 5 decibels but fortunately does not suffer noise related tinnitus. His condition was confirmed when Nigel Askew Solicitor arranged a free hearing test for industrial deafness.

This was not a straightforward claim as some of Mr H’s noise exposure occurred prior to 1963 which is generally the date after which British Coal can be held responsible for NCB deafness claims. However, Nigel Askew Solicitor is aware of evidence that British Coal knew about the risks of industrial deafness to miners from as early as 1954 or 1955 and argued he should recover his industrial deafness claim compensation in full. Another difficulty was that his industrial noise deafness was only small at 5 decibels (usually such claims are turned down by industrial deafness solicitors (see low value injury article)) which was confirmed by his free industrial deafness hearing test.

Despite these difficulties, industrial deafness solicitors Nigel Askew were able to negotiate an out-of-court settlement of £3000 for Mr H’s deafness compensation for his minor hearing loss in settlement of his noise induced deafness claim against the national coal board and British Coal and avoiding the need to start court proceedings.

Solicitors For Industrial Deafness Compensation Claims UK
Nigel Askew is a solicitors specialising in industrial deafness in the north east and throughout the UK with industrial deafness solicitors handling claims in the north west, Manchester, Blackburn, Bolton, Bury, Liverpool, midlands, Birmingham, Leicester, Nottingham, Chesterfield, West Yorkshire, Bradford, Halifax, Hull, South Yorkshire, Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster, Lincolnshire, Scunthorpe, Lincoln and Grimsby.