Head Of Training, The Healthy Work Company

November 2, 2015

Get the SHP newsletter

Daily health and safety news, job alerts and resources

Car company fined after worker dies from inhaling paint stripper fumes

A Dundee car company, which specialises in restoring alloy wheels, has been fined following the death of a worker who died after inhaling fumes while cleaning a chemical stripping paint tank.

Dundee Sheriff Court heard how on 18 August 2011, Steven Conway, 33, from Dundee, was employed by Diamond Wheels (Dundee) Limited to undertake general duties at its Dryburgh Industrial Estate, premises.

These duties included collections and deliveries, removing and replacing tyres, and moving alloy wheels into, and out of, the chemical stripping tank.

The court heard Mr Conway, was overcome by dichloromethane vapour while attempting to remove stripping debris from within the chemical stripping tank and died as a result of his exposure to those vapours.

Diamond Wheels’ owner, Paul Marr and another colleague removed Mr Conway from the tank and tried to resuscitate him. He was later pronounced dead.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigation found Mr Conway was provided with no formal training in respect of the use of the chemical stripping tank and the chemical stripping agent used by the company. Instead he was given ‘on the job’ training.

It was reported that Mr Conway went in to the tank wearing trainers, tracksuit bottoms, a t-shirt and a fleece. He was not provided with overalls or any other protective clothing – and wore a mask that did nothing to protect him from the toxic fumes let off by the chemicals.

Fiscal depute Emma Stewart told the court: “Mr Conway was found wearing the face mask, kneeling inside the stripping tank. He was slumped against the side of the tank and appeared to be unconscious.”

Diamond Wheels (Dundee) Limited, of Nethergate, Dundee, was fined £50,000, after pleading guilty to offences under Section 2(1) and 33(1)(a) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

Defence advocate Gavin Anderson said the company had undertaken extensive efforts to adhere strictly to health and safety standards since Mr Conway’s death.

Mr Anderson said: “I express publicly in open court that Mr Conway’s tragic death is genuinely and deeply regretted by all associated with the company.”

The Safety Conversation Podcast: Listen now!

The Safety Conversation with SHP (previously the Safety and Health Podcast) aims to bring you the latest news, insights and legislation updates in the form of interviews, discussions and panel debates from leading figures within the profession.

Find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts, subscribe and join the conversation today!

Related Topics

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments