Man wins a payout for work-related deafness
FORMER Swindon railway worker Denis Mackie has received a court payout after suffering hearing damage due to his years in the factory.
And he is urging others in a similar situation to investigate legal action.
Mr Mackie, of Toothill, a grandfather-of-one, said his hearing was damaged when he was exposed unprotected to loud noise – mostly rivetting – while working as a boiler maker between 1967 and 1978. Recently, he received undisclosed damaged after winning a civil case at Winchester against British Rail.
“I wish I could have my hearing back but somebody had to pay for it in the end that I had lost my hearing,” said Mr Mackie, who is chairman of Toothill Youth Club.
“I know there are dozens and dozens of people out there that have claimed.
“I don’t consider litigation is a nice way of going on.We have never had nothing for nothing. But it’s payback time.”
Mr Mackie, who was told the cause of his hearing loss at Great Western Hospital about three years ago, said he made contact with industrial disease lawyer, Brigitte Chandler, after reading an article in the Adver about another Swindon railway worker who had received a payout for hearing loss.
In a message to other ex-railway workers, he said: “I think they should go for it. “They will know they’re deaf and some of them may be wearing hearing aids and not realise what caused the deafness. “It was only because I read a little article in the Adver that put me in the direction of Brigitte.”
Ms Chandler, of Swindon law firm Charles Lucas And Marshall, said deafness among retired workers in the town was increasing because of the excessive noise levels they have had to endure at work.
“Many people in Swindon have worked in heavy industry – in the railway or car industries or other areas of manufacturing,” she said. “In the past they were not provided with hearing aids and as a result, as they have got older, they have become deaf.
"They might think this is down to old age but it is often noise exposure which is the cause. “There is a simple test which can be carried out which identifies if deafness is the result of age or noise exposure.”
In the case of Mr Mackie, she said he was provided with no protection while exposed to heavy noise, particularly the use of rivet guns.
She said British Rail initially alleged that because the hearing loss had gone on for several years, Mr Mackie was out of time in bringing a claim.
However, the court found that because Mr Mackie had only recently been advised that he had industrial deafness, he was therefore entitled to compensation.
“British Rail was aware of the dangers of deafness from 1955 onwards," said Ms Chandler. “Anyone who is suffering from deafness and worked in a noisy environment should visit their GP and insist on a hospital test.”