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Inquest Eyes Spray Booth in 2015 Explosion

Monday, July 17, 2017

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An inquest is underway into a 2015 industrial accident in which an electrostatic spray booth exploded, claiming the lives of two workers at a factory in England.

On the day of the incident, July 13, 2015, Daniel Timbers, 28, was filling in for his father, Mick, at work, as his father was out ill that day. Timbers was teamed with Barry Joy, 56, working in the paint spray booth. Both men were employed by Harford Attachments, a Norwich-based manufacturer of digger buckets.

Around 9 a.m., employees reported hearing a “loud noise,” which was followed by a fire in the paint spray booth that held both men, coroner Yvonne Blake noted.

“Staff evacuated the premises, with some of them bravely trying to rescue Mr. Timbers and Mr. Joy,” Blake said. “Their bodies were recovered from the booth afterwards.”

Post-mortem examination revealed that both men had died from the effects of the fire and inhalation of combustion fumes. Timbers and Joy had to be identified from dental records.

Old Booth, New System

The spray booth in question was one of two belonging to Harford Attachments that had been previously used to paint the RAF Hercules aircraft. Kenneth Steadman, managing director of Industrial Powder and Paint Services in Ipswich, acted as the advisor for the acquisition of the booths for Harford from RAF Lyneham.

The booths were dismantled, moved and reassembled at the Harford Attachments factory. Leighton Wing, the subcontractor who dismantled the booths, told Norfolk News that they had been in use since the 1980s. Stedman went on to say that the units had been “well-kept for their age,” and he had originally advised the company that the booths were suitable to set up.

According to local reports, the inquest revealed that the old booths had been retrofitted with new electrostatic spray systems in 2015. Wagner Spray Tech UK, the firm that sold the electrostatic system to Harford, reportedly testified that, while it offers training on safe use of the equipment, Harford did not request a training session.

Last year, it was reported that Norfolk Police had contacted the Crown Prosecution Service about the case. Law enforcement was also waiting to see if criminal charges were likely.

Inquest

Other than details about the cause of death for both workers, the inquest will also hear evidence on training of staff, onsite policies and extraction equipment on the paint spray booths.

Currently being held at Norfolk Coroners Court, the inquest started on July 10, and will run for 10 days.

   

Tagged categories: Explosions; Hazards; Health and safety

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