Shipbuilding giant Vickers is facing a rising tide of legal challenges from workers who claim their hearing was damaged while they were employed at the Cumbrian shipyard.
Evidence gathered by industrial injury lawyers, Attwood Solicitors, reveals that shipbuilding companies, including Vickers, failed to provide ear protectors for workers in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
Hundreds of Vickers’ workers have attended Hearing Days held by Attwood Solicitors at the Dock Museum, Barrow.
And a third Barrow Hearing Day is now planned for the museum on Thursday, 30 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 across England, including many former Vickers’ shipyard workers.
“Official statements collected from workers show a repeated failure to provide protective hearing equipment.
“Many workers have paid the price and are now suffering from Tinnitus and other hearing conditions.”
Graham Dodd, 66, of Millom, Cumbria, worked at Vickers as an apprentice joiner between 1960 and 1965.
He said: “I have hearing aids in both ears and without them I am almost deaf.
“The joiners shop was a very noisy environment and we also had to work on the ships where the noise was horrendous. But no-one was offered ear protectors. I was a young apprentice and I just had to put up with it.”
Mr Dodd was examined by an audiologist, working alongside Attwood Solicitors, at a previous Barrow hearing day along with former welder, John Lamb.
Mr Lamb said: “I worked as a welder at Vickers and was exposed to excessive noise for most of the using pneumatic caulking hammers, high cycle grinders, needle guns and other loud tools.
“It was extremely noisy and there was no hearing protection available at all until the 1980s. Even then, Vickers simply provided boxes of ear plugs so that employees could help themselves but they were always going missing so there was never enough to go around”
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 Dock Museum, Barrow, on 30 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