Brundall firm plans to take on more staff

Elaine MaslinA former construction worker who launched a new business to help people protect their hearing is planning to create new jobs and build his firm into a national network.Elaine Maslin

A former construction worker who launched a new business to help people protect their hearing is planning to create new jobs and build his firm into a national network.

Mike Gabillia runs Brundall-based Ottraco, a firm providing hearing tests and protection devices including custom moulded ear defenders for anyone from doormen to farm or construction workers.

He set up the business in 2003 with the help of his son, Philip Gabillia, and has built it to having a turnover of �65,000 to �70,000.

The firm tests individuals for hearing difficulties and then takes moulds and has bespoke ear defenders made. These are then fitted and can be adjusted according to the conditions the worker is working in. Among the firm's customers is the UEA's concert venue, LCR.

Now Mr Gabillia is looking to take on staff and treble turnover. 'It is a niche market. It has been a bit stationary over the last couple of years as manufacturing took a bit of a hit, but we are talking to clients and we are looking to treble our turnover in the next 12 months.

'At first we want sales people and we will look to grow and increase the workforce. Our aim is to make a fully nationwide business.'

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He said firms needed to be able to show the Health and Safety executive that they complied with legislation over hearing, something less well known about than eyesight tests in industry.

'I get very passionate about it,' he added. 'Nobody thinks about it until it is too late. People do not use disposable ear plugs in the right way and they are unhygienic.'

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