An employee suffered fatal burns while cleaning a spray booth using a highly flammable cleaning solvent. 

The court heard flammable vapour ignited after a pressure washer was taken into the vehicle painting booth. The ignition caused a serious fire.

HSE investigation

An investigation by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) found the employer had not properly planned the cleaning activity.

Proper planning would have identified alternative and much safer ways of cleaning the booth.

LW Smart Repairs Limited pleaded guilty to breaching the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002.

It was fined £20,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,500.

Poor risk assessment

The HSE said the company failed to carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks of cleaning using a highly flammable solvent.

The HSE commented the incident could have been prevented if the employer had done all that was reasonably practicable to reduce the related cleaning risks.

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