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May 18, 2020

Drinks company pays out compensation


We solicitors have successfully concluded a claim for compensation for Mr J whose hearing was damaged due to excessive noise where he worked.  Mr J worked between 1989 and 2003 at the same factory but was employed by Hey UK Ltd, Benjamin Shaw & Sons Ltd and Cott Beverages Ltd as the company was taken over more than once.

The company was a bottling factory of soft drinks.  Mr J recalled that the areas in which he worked were extremely noisy as the glass bottles bashed against one another as they moved along the production line.  Most of the machines used compressed air which added to overall noise in the factory.

Decades ago the government advised employers of the need to safeguard their employees from the harmful effects of noise in the workplace.  Sadly little notice was taken until the mid-1990’s and many people have suffered from hearing loss as a result.  In Mr J’s case, hearing protection was provided but never enforced.  Furthermore, no training was provided to Mr J about how to use hearing protection or the dangers of not using it.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have undertaken exhaustive case studies and the noise levels on these lines can exceed 95dB which is well above the safe levels of noise that someone can work in without the need for hearing protection.  Despite the HSE setting out methods to reduce the level of noise within the factories, many companies failed to take any steps to do so.  The recommendations included:

•             Replacing glass bottles with plastic ones;

•             Reduce inter-bottle impact: slow down speed of line and increase spacing of bottles;

•             Dampening of impact surfaces: fit dampening material at impact points;

•             Fit an acoustic enclosure over the bottle conveyor;

•             Provide acoustic barriers around the cap feeder bowl and fit noise reducing mountings;

•             Limit worker exposure time: job rotation so that employees are not exposed to noise for too long.

Had Mr J’s employers taken these positive steps he would have not sustained noise induced hearing loss and tinnitus.  Most clients complain that the tinnitus symptoms which are usually buzzing, whistling, whooshing or ringing in their ears are far worse than the hearing loss itself.  It is often worse at night and interrupts sleep.

If you have worked in the drinks industry and believe your hearing may have been affected contact us today on freephone 0800 294 3065 or email us