Alton and Southern blamed for worker's hearing loss

Kelly Holleran Jul. 14, 2010, 6:37am

A railroad worker has filed suit against his employer, alleging he sustained hearing loss because of the work he was forced to perform throughout his career.

Denny Sipes claims he worked as a yardmaster for defendant The Alton and Southern Railway Company from 1994 until 2002 and as a switchman for the company from 2002 until today. Throughout his career, Sipes was exposed to unsafe workplace and suffered hearing loss as a result, according to the complaint filed July 2 in Madison County Circuit Court.

Causes leading to Sipes' hearing loss included Alton and Southern's requirement that Sipes be exposed to a variety of noises including idling and moving locomotives and the company's failure to provide Sipes with adequate hearing protection, the suit states. In addition, the company negligently failed to provide sound protection in its engines, failed to follow OSHA and Federal Railroad Administration regulations on noise levels and failed to modify the position of horns and whistles on its engines, the complaint says.

As a result of Alton and Southern's actions, Sipes claims he suffered injuries to his inner ears , the nerve endings in his head, his tympanic membranes, his eardrums and the tissues of his inner ears; suffers from tinnitus and psychological and emotional harm; experienced pain, suffering and disability; incurred medical costs; suffered mental pain and anguish; and lost his enjoyment of life.

In his complaint, Sipes is seeking a judgment of more than $50,000, plus costs.

He will be represented by Morgan Scroggins of Scroggins Law Office in Granite City.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-708.

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