Teenage work noise led to deafness
A GMB member exposed to dangerous levels of workplace noise as a teenager apprentice is now reliant on two hearing aids at the age of 48. Neil Dawson from Hull has received £5,750 in damages after developing occupational deafness. The harm was caused by his first job as a 16-year-old apprentice for Richard Dunston Shipbuilders in Hessle, Yorkshire, where he trained to be a plater from 1977 to 1981. The yard was noisy but he was never given instruction or advice on the dangers it posed to his hearing. Richard Dunston Shipbuilders no longer exists so Thompsons, the personal injury law firm brought in by GMB to represent Neil, had to track down the firm's former insurers which admitted liability and settled out of court. Mr Dawson said: 'I was only 16 when I started working at the shipbuilders and I had no idea that the noise I worked in was damaging my ears. We were never provided with ear defenders and now at only 48 I have to wear two hearing aids.' Andy Worth from the GMB said: 'Many of our members have been negligently exposed to excessive levels of noise in the workplace by their employers. Sadly even with the knowledge of the long term damage it can cause and the safety equipment available people are being exposed today. We won't let those who ignore health and safety laws or fail to provide the correct safety equipment to get away with it however long ago it happened.'
Issued: 2 April, 2010