A FORMER steelworker left partially deaf after employers failed to give him proper hearing protection has won a payout.
Pensioner Kenneth Clarkson suffered permanent damage to his hearing while working at two South Yorkshire mills from 1956 to 1999.
The 79-year-old, from Kimberworth, Rotherham, will need a hearing aid for the rest of his life because of noise exposure from fork-lift trucks and cranes at JJ Habershon and Sons and machinery at Tata Steel.
He was not warned of the dangers of noise-induced hearing loss or provided with protective equipment.
Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell secured Mr Clarkson a £4,710 settlement, which will cover the cost of hearing aids and adjustments he will be forced to make to accommodate his hearing difficulties in everyday life.
He said: “The steelworks were very loud, with the steel rollers, conveyors and furnaces producing a lot of noise. It was easy to get used to the constant background noise and I didn’t realise the lasting impact it would have on my hearing.
“Not being able to hear things can be really frustrating and distressing.
It really starts to knock your confidence and affect your mood.
“I feel sorry for my family, who had to put up with me asking to repeat themselves or speak up all the time, and feel angry this could’ve been avoided if I’d just been given some proper protection.
He added: “I’m just relieved to finally get some justice.”
David Urpeth, head of workplace injuries at Irwin Mitchell in Sheffield, said: “This case highlights the importance of health and safety policies. “Employers have a duty of care to their staff which includes ensuring full protective equipment is provided.
He added: “The damage done by such loud industrial noise is irreversible and it means Kenneth and people like him are forced to suffer for the rest of their lives.”