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Our client was referred to us through his union, Unite, after suffering hearing loss as the result of an accident whilst working offshore.

The background

On 14 December 2016, Mr David Borthwick was working as a scaffolder on the Fulmar platform, an oil rig operated by Repsol Sinopec. On the day of the incident, he had been involved in erecting scaffolding as part of his normal day-to-day work when a nearby air-line blew in close proximity. The compressed air dislodged a valve which caused a loud bang in the enclosed area.

Thinking the noise had been caused by a gas explosion, Mr Borthwick and his colleagues attempted to quickly vacate the area and, on reaching a safe distance, Mr Borthwick found his ears were ringing.

Despite the loud hissing noise which remained in the workspace, Mr Borthwick was asked to continue erecting the scaffolding so that the airline could be repaired.

Our client had been wearing hearing protection at the time of the incident and put on double protection after the valve had blown, but his ears continued to throb.

The consequences

In the days following the incident, the ringing in our client's ears did not abate and at a medical examination carried out six months later it was found that our client had suffered significant deterioration to his hearing.

Our client had suffered noise-induced hearing loss and was concerned that he might lose his hearing completely. He suffers from tinnitus and has been affected psychologically as a result of the offshore incident.

The settlement

Thompsons personal injury solicitors intimated a claim in respect of noise-induced hearing loss against Repsol Sinopec Resources UK Ltd. on the basis of Regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, the PPE Regulations, and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Liability was denied and Thompsons raised a Court action. Initially, the defender offered a compensation sum of £3,000.

We advised MrBorthwick to reject the offer and proceed with a counter-offer of £10,000 as it was likely that he would receive in the region of £3,000 for solatium and around £6,500 for treatment costs if the case went to court.

The defender rejected the counter-offer and made a further offer in the sum of £6,500.

Our client decided to accept this offer to see an early end to the case. We therefore acted upon his instructions and accepted the £6,500 compensation for hearing loss on 23 April 2020.

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