Doing my Job Ruined my Hearing – What Can I Do?


A man who was employed by BT for 39 years suffered irreversible damage to his hearing after they failed to supply him with the right equipment to do his job.

Hearing Loss

Equipment at work caused permanent damage

The 64 year old started out at BT as a general purpose gang member. As part of his role he had to use various pieces of equipment that exposed him to excessive noise during his day – this equipment included amplifiers, oscillators, winches and road breakers. From this position, he was then moved to the Pole Erection Unit. Here he was further exposed to noise as it was his job to dig up the roads.

The equipment he now used would deliberately send a screeching noise into his earpiece causing distress.

Throughout his time at BT, he was constantly bombarded by noisy surroundings from the different types of equipment he was required to use. For up to 5 hours a day, not including overtime, he continued with his job unaware of the danger he was being exposed to.

Should my employer supply me with safety equipment?

At no point did BT provide the man with any form of hearing protection and he wasn't warned of the loud levels of noise and the effect it would have long term. He and his colleagues just took the environment and conditions of the job as part and parcel of the work and did not question the safety procedures.

After working for BT for a number of years in this department, he was moved to the Pole Testing Unit. Here he was eventually provided with earmuffs whilst carrying out his daily work but by now the damage was already done.

Colleagues also experiencing hearing loss

It's hard to believe that going to work and doing your job could cause you harm. Being injured at work after a one time accident can happen to anyone but for a select group going to work every day has its risks and hazards. It is your employers' job to ensure that you do not succumb to these. Not only was the man who came to us experiencing problems with his hearing, his work colleagues also experienced hearing problems.

With the help of his trade union the Communication Workers Union (CWU), he was put in touch with us, Simpson Millar LLP to take on his case.

By getting a medical report carried out by an expert, we were able to confirm that due to his work at BT he had in fact developed noise induced hearing loss and tinnitus. With this evidence, we were able to help the man put an end to his case for £4,250.

Top tips to take home

  • Your employer is legally responsible for providing you with safety equipment at work
  • If you are a member of a trade union, they may be able to put you in touch with a solicitor
  • You may not be the only affected by a workplace injury – your colleagues may be suffering with the same illness

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