A man who worked as a machine operator for many years has won compensation after suffering damage to his hearing.

Oswald Grant, from Pudsey in West Yorkshire, began working at Yorkshire Imperial Metals (YIM) in 1963. He initially worked as a pump operator before going on to become a crane driver. He was regularly exposed to high levels of workplace noise from machinery being operated in the areas where the cranes were used. It was often so loud that he and his colleagues could only communicate by shouting or using hand gestures.

Despite the risks posed by excessive noise in the workplace, he had worked for YIM for some time before he and his colleagues were provided with ear protection.

In recent years Mr Grant, now 73, has found that his hearing has begun to deteriorate. He now has to watch television with the volume turned up, and finds it difficult to hear what people are saying to him if there is any background noise.

He also suffers from tinnitus, a ringing or buzzing in the ears which is a common consequence of noise-induced hearing loss.

Mr Grant commenced a claim for compensation for the damage to his hearing and has succeeded in obtaining a settlement of £6,000.

The standards applicable for permissible noise levels in the workplace have been tightened over the years. Employers now have a clear duty to comply with the standards for control of exposure to noise laid down by the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 and to assess and control the risks of environmental noise that cannot be eliminated. 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.


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