Coal Mining and Noise – How it Can Affect Your Hearing

Coal Mining and Noise – How it Can Affect Your Hearing

In 1979, the UK was producing 130 million tons of coal each year as a result of mining from 170 underground locations throughout the country, but by 2010 there were only 3 underground mines left in the country which produced only 17 million tons.

In March 2013 one of the last remaining mines – Daw Mill Colliery in Warwickshire – closed its doors as well. This was particularly poignant one month later when former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher passed away in April – given her period as Prime Minister saw considerable scaling back of the mines in the 1970s and 1980s.

Noise in the mines

At Roberts Jackson we have taken on a vast number of cases where former coal miners have suffered from permanent and damaging hearing loss as a result of their exposure to excessive noise in the mines with employers like the National Coal Board, UK Coal, R J Budge Mining and Cementation Mining.

Miners were often exposed to noise levels far in excess of safe levels as a result of working on the coal face, or digging tunnels. Most underground work involved using machinery including:

  • Coal cutters,
  • DOSCO’s,
  • Anderson Strathclyde’s,
  • Holman drills,
  • Windy picks,
  • Conveyor belts which were transporting the coal, and
  • Locomotive drivers were also exposed to extremely loud and constant noise.

Even if miners were not personally using these machines the mere fact they were in close proximity to a fellow colleague using them and the nature of the confined spaces in the mines means a huge number of former miners are able to claim for noise induced hearing loss.

Hearing protection was not widely supplied in the mines if this was the case, your hearing loss may not be down to age – it may have been caused by work.

While hearing protection is much more widely used nowadays in the mines, current miners may still be able to claim, especially if the hearing protection is dirty or the use of the protection is not enforced.

Current miners may also experience problems such as asthma or dermatitis due to the dust, and vibration white finger if vibrating machinery is used.


If you used to work in the mines, consider the following:

  • Do you have to turn your television volume up loud?
  • Do you have to ask people to repeat themselves a lot?
  • Do you struggle hearing the telephone or doorbell?
  • Do you find it hard to hear when there is a lot of background noise?

If any of your answers are yes, you may have noise induced hearing loss and if you have not previously made a claim, you could do so now by contacting Roberts Jackson.

For more information about the coal mining industry please click here