Pottery companies are facing a rising tide of legal challenges from North Staffordshire people who claim their hearing was damaged while working in the industry.
Evidence gathered by industrial injury lawyers, Attwood Solicitors, of Stoke, reveal that many factories failed to provide ear protectors for workers in the 1970s and 1980s.
Now Attwood Solicitors are to stage a Hearing Day at the Moat House, Festival Park, on Wednesday, 29 September, where audiologists will be on hand to advise current and retired workers.
Principal Solictor, Ashley Attwood, said: “We have now carried-out tests in more than 500 industrial hearing cases, including many involving pottery workers from our home city of Stoke-on-Trent.
“Official statements from former pottery workers show that there was a repeated failure to provide protective equipment during the 1970s and 1980s.
“Many workers have paid the price and are now suffering from Tinnitus and other hearing conditions.”
David Till, 63, of Park Hall, Stoke-on-Trent, worked in the pottery industry from the age of 15 to 40.
A former Clay Manager, David has asked Attwood Solicitors to help pursue a claim against former employers, including Palissy Pottery, Longton, and Paragon China, Longton.
While the companies no longer exist, claims can be pursued against their insurers.
David said: “I am very deaf in one ear and I suffer from Tinnitus. If I am in a room with a lot of people, I cannot distinguish individual voices and I have to leave.
“The pottery factories were very noisy environment and workers were not issued with ear muffs – we just had to put up with the din.”
Barry Ratcliffe, a former Kiln Placer at the Bilton’s factory, added: “I worked in the industry from the mid 70s to 1995. It was always very noisy and no-one seemed to care about ear protection.
“I have a permanent noise in my ears. It is ok during the day because of all the background noise but it becomes a lot more profound at night and can make it difficult to get to sleep.
Mr Attwood said: “Many workers who experienced hearing loss while working in extremely noisy environments have simply put up with it.
“Often people suffer in silence and don’t believe they have a right to compensation for the pain and inconvenience caused to them.”
Any sounds above 80 decibels – about the equivalent of an average alarm clock going off – are considered dangerous but many older people are now suffering from damage caused before current health and safety standards were introduced.
The Hearing Day will run between 10am and 5pm at the Moat House, Festival Park, Stoke-on-Trent, on 29 September.
For further information contact Ashley Attwood on 01782 416016 www.attwoodsolicitors.co.uk.
Notes to Editors:
Attwoods Solicitors are personal injury specialists based in Hartshill Road, Stoke-on-Trent.
More than £2 million has been successfully claimed by Attwoods to help people who have suffered in an accident.
5-7 Hartshill Road
Stoke on Trent