Hearing loss caused by engine noise leads to £15K compensation for Cashco driver


A Cleveland woman who collected and delivered money for Royal Mail has won a compensation claim against her employer for the loss of her hearing.

Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Anne Garner, from Redcar, was employed as a driver with Cashco, the Royal Mail division which carries cash and high-value items.

Between 1990 and 2002, the main part of Ms Garner's job was to collect and deliver money in an armoured van. Typically this was a powerful vehicle from which interior panelling had been removed and whose heavy diesel engine, located close to the driver inside the cab, generated high levels of noise.

The noise was worsened by a poorly-secured engine cover, while inside the cab there was little to absorb its volume. Ms Garner drove such vehicles for 6 hours a day for around 18 months, then for 8 hours a day for the rest of her 12-year employment.

So uncomfortable and potentially hazardous was her working environment that Ms Garner noticed a marked and steady deterioration in her hearing.

Subsequent medical examinations revealed that the persistent engine sound had caused her to suffer noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus.

Following our action on Ms Garner's behalf, Royal Mail Group conceded breach of its statutory duty under the terms of a number of Health and Safety at Work Regulations.

Twenty seven allegations were made against the defendant, including failure to provide our client with a safe system and place of work and failure to provide suitable equipment for the work Ms Garner undertook.

Although the defendant at first offered compensation of £10,000, we were able to use existing case authorities to negotiate an increase. The claim was agreed in November 2012 for £15,000 in full and final settlement of Ms Garner's damages.

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