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Asbestos Related Illnesses

Industrial Diseases – A Legal Point of View



Swindon Man Awarded Damages After Loss of Hearing


A Swindon man has reached an out of court settlement with British Rail after he became deaf following years of exposure to heavy noise at work.

Dennis Mulholland, 79, who has already settled a previous claim with British Rail after developing an asbestos related disease, worked at British Rail’s Swindon works between 1961-1971.

His solicitor, Brigitte Chandler, a partner at Swindon firm, Charles Lucas & Marshall and one of the country’s leading industrial disease lawyers, says she believes other former employees will also have been affected by the constant noise – but may not associate it with hearing loss.

“Mr Mulholland was exposed to continuous and excessive noise caused by heavy machinery,” she said. “Throughout his employment, British Rail never provided him with ear defenders or warned him about the dangers of excessive noise – despite the fact that from 1955 they had been aware of the dangers of noise.”

Riveting was carried out throughout Mr Mulholland’s working day with hundreds of men in close proximity using hammers. Large, noisy cranes moved about the workshops and tables which carried the locomotives in and out of the workshops were also extremely noisy.

“As a result, Mr Mulholland now suffers from deafness as well as asbestos disease which was caused by exposure to asbestos dust,” says Brigitte Chandler.

“All the men could do was stuff dirty rags into their ears to try to reduce the discomfort of the excessive noise. It was almost impossible to have conversations. Many of these workers, as they get older, experience hearing difficulties.

“Often they think it is old age but there is invariably a strong element of deafness and tinnitus due to noise exposure. Anyone not given hearing protection should take legal advice. A large number of people worked in the railways and had to work in these conditions and have subsequently been affected in this way.”

British Rail agreed to an out of court settlement of £5,000.

For further information please contact Brigitte Chandler on 01793 511055 or brigitte.chandler@clmlaw.co.uk

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December 2nd, 2010 at 12:22 pm



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