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28th January 2021


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Two companies fined after bathroom floor layer fatally exposed to toxic substance

A supplier and a flooring company have both been sentenced following the death of a 30-year old floor layer in London. Paul Tilcock was found dead on the bathroom floor by the owner of a house in Mitcham. The adhesive being used to fix the flooring contained a large amount of toxic substance.

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive found that T Brown Group had not implemented any systems or procedures adequately to control the risks to its employees from working in an enclosed space with a substance known to be hazardous to health, namely dichloromethane.

The decision on whether to wear respiratory protection (face masks) or on what type of respiratory protection should be used was left up to employees. When Mr Tilcock's body was found he was wearing a completely ineffectual face mask.

Altro, the flooring company that supplied the adhesive, was found not to have ensured so far as reasonably practicable that the product supplied was safe to use at all times.

T Brown Group of Ewell, Surrey, pleaded guilty to a breach under Section 2 (1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974. The company was fined £250,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £23,936.

Altro of Letchworth, Herts pleaded guilty to a breach under Section 6 (4) of the Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and was fined £500,000 and ordered to pay full costs of £34,773.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Peter Collingwood said: "This tragic incident which has had a devastating effect on a young family was wholly avoidable. It is important that companies have an appreciation of their duties, (whether to its employees or its customers) and have effective systems and procedures in place to ensure that those duties are fulfilled".


30th May 2019

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