Multicrest Fined After Worker’s Dies In Fumes Incident

Man Overcome By Fumes While Working On Bathroom Project

03.06.2013

By Rob Dixon

Bath restoration firm Multicrest has been fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs in relation to an accident at work, in which a 55-year-old worker died after inhaling toxic fumes in the bathroom of a flat in South West London.

Colin Pocock was using industrial paint and varnish remover to strip resin coating at the housing association in Wandsworth in June 2009 when he was overcome by fumes contained within the stripping agent.

Southwark Crown Court heard that the Health and Safety Executive found that there was insufficient ventilation in the bathroom. The safety body stated that Multicrest – a franchisee of Renubath Services Ltd – should have provided mechanical equipment to compensate for the issue.

The HSE also stated that managers were unaware of how work needed to be undertaken in bathrooms and did not provide safe arrangements.

Sally Rissbrook, a workplace injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, specialises in acting for the families of those who have died as a result of safety failings at work.

Commenting on the case, she said: “Like so many of the cases we represent people in relation to, this terrible tragedy highlights the terrible events that can emerge when the right advice and equipment is not provided to workers when they need it.

“Simple communication and provision of the right equipment could have made a huge difference in this case, but the failings seen meant that this was not the case.

“There are lessons for all employers to be learned from this terrible work accident, notably the need to ensure that the health and safety issues of any activity are always carefully considering from the outset with a view to keeping people protected from harm.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in relation to Work Injury and Illness Claims