A Ministry of Defence employee has been awarded damages of over £4,000 for noise related hearing loss caused by ill-fitting safety equipment. Thomas Doyle (60) from Coatbridge suffered extensive damage to his hearing as a result of exposure to noise from an MP7 carbine gun during his employment as a firearms instructor with the MOD.
Mr Doyle, who was based at HMS Caledonia in Rosyth, was provided with ear defenders and ear plugs by his employer which were incompatible with the body armour he had to wear. This caused the defenders to move away from his ears while in certain positions, leaving him exposed to high levels of noise resulting in rapid hearing loss.
In taking action against his employer, Mr Doyle claimed that this was a common occurrence which had happened over a long period of time. This was confirmed by two other employees who had experienced similar difficulties.
Mr Doyle was today awarded compensation totalling £4,038. He said: “The ability to hear is something most of us take for granted and to have this sense irreparably damaged is something I will have to live with for the rest of my life.
“It is frustrating that something as simple as ill-fitting equipment can have such a devastating, long term effect and while I am pleased with the outcome, my priority is that lessons are learned and changes are made so that fellow colleagues don’t have to suffer in the way I have.”
Thompsons Solicitors, a specialist trade union law firm, acted for Mr Doyle through the Defence Police Federation Union. Thompsons were successful in proving a breach of Reg 5 of Personal Protection Equipment regulations due to the body armour not beingcompatible with the ear defenders and therefore Reg 6 of the Control of Noise at Work regulations as he was exposed to noise above the peak sound pressure of 140dB.
Thompsons Associate Solicitor Susanne MrGraw said: “It is hugely disappointing that an employer as large and influential as the MOD is cutting corners on workplace safety and putting the health of its employees at risk. Our client will be left with lasting damage which will affect him for the rest of his life caused by circumstances which could have so easily been avoided. I hope today’s ruling will act as a wake-up call to the MOD that they cannot be complacent when it comes to health and safety in the workplace.”
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