Worker dies from inhaling paint stripper fumes at car company

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.

Steven Conway, 33, from Dundee, was employed by Diamond Wheels (Dundee) Limited to undertake general duties at its Dryburgh Industrial Estate, premises..  His duties including moving alloy wheels in and out of the chemical stripping tank.

Mr Conway, was overcome by dichloromethane vapour while attempting to remove stripping debris from within the chemical stripping tank.  He died as a result of that exposure

Two colleagues tried to revive him, without success.

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.  The mask he was provided with was  not suitable for stopping the toxic vapours.

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, he also added “I express publicly in open court that Mr Conway’s tragic death is genuinely and deeply regretted by all associated with the company.”


We deal with fatal and non fatal accident at work cases, and it is always tragic when a death or serious injury could so easily have been prevented.

In this case the lack of training and the lack of personal protective equipment had fatal consequences.

If you or a friend, loved one or colleague has been injured as a result of an accident at work, then contact us.  We act for Clients throughout the whole of England and Wales on a no win no fee basis.  Contact us 24/7. 0151 375 9944.

About Jan

Jan has a particular interest in litigation and has been involved in dispute management for over 25 years. Although mediation has its place, it is sometimes necessary to take strong and decisive action to protect Clients, which may involve Court action and enforcement. Jan's other interests and areas of practice are; Fleet and Transportation Law, Motoring Offences and Personal Injury. Having been in the law for over 25 years, there is not much that hasn't crossed her path from minor to complex cases. Jan says 'there is still the thrill of getting a great result for a Client.' She still finds law as interesting today as she did when she started, over 25 years ago.

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