Thanks to Unite Legal Services for supporting my claim.
Dale works for the Co-Operative Group as a shunter driver. One of his duties is to take off and put trailers on, which exposes him to high levels of noise.
Dale contacted Unite Legal Services and we put him in touch with a specialist personal injury solicitor to discuss his hearing loss.
Investigations were carried out into Dale’s working environment, including obtaining witness evidence.
We proceeded to recover Dale’s medical records, which showed he had first sought advice regarding tinnitus and possible hearing loss in January 2019 after experiencing symptoms since around January 2018.
A medical report was also sought from Dr Craig Murray, a consultant otolaryngologist. He confirmed that Dale had developed bilateral high-frequency sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus as a result of his exposure to noise in the workplace.
Arrangements were then made to commence court proceedings in the All Scotland Sheriff Personal Injury Court in Edinburgh.
Liability was not admitted and we proceeded to instruct a liability report from Mr Dick Bowdler, acoustic consultant.
Mr Bowdler was of the view that Dale and his colleagues were exposed to noise levels exceeding 80dB. Documents provided by the defender showed that risk assessments did not appear to have been carried out until 2017. This meant that Dale was unable to request hearing protection per Regulation 7 of the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005.
In advance of the court hearing set down, a settlement of £5,000 was agreed.
We consider that there may be a widespread issue at the Co-Operative Group’s Newhouse Depot and at other premises across the country, potentially affecting a large number of shunters. The company does not appear to understand its obligations to employees under the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005. It seems that it was unaware that the lower EAV level has been exceeded and, therefore, we would urge you to make all members working in this role aware of any potential claim for compensation they may have.
Any member should contact Unite Legal Services for further advice.
Dale, who kept 100% of his compensation, said: “Thank you to all of your team that helped me through the process and final outcome.”