DCM fumes killed a construction worker


Brick Restoration Ltd, a BRICK and masonry restoration company, and its two directors, Stewart Bailey and John McCole, have been convicted after the death of a construction worker.

Alexandru Sorin was struck by dichloromethane (“DCM”) vapor while using a DCM-based paint stripper on a property in London on July 25, 2017.

Mr. Sorin was working on his own stripping of paint from the walls of a light well in the basement of Berkeley Gardens, London. DCM vapor is heavier than air and can collect in confined areas with poor ventilation. While the work was being carried out, Mr. Sorin was overwhelmed by the DCM fumes and died from the exposure.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) concluded that Brick Restoration Ltd did not take effective measures to control Mr Sorin’s exposure to DCM. His death could have been prevented by eliminating the risk associated with DCM with a different removal method, or by replacing the DCM paint remover with a less hazardous product.

Before the City of London Magistrates’ Court, Brick Restoration Ltd of Worboys Road, Worcester, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 7(1) of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 and was ordered to pay a fine of £50,000 and to pay fined £2,805.64 in costs.

Stewart Bailey, of Worboys Road, Worcestershire, pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Etc Act 1974 and was fined 200 hours of community service and paying expenses of £2,805.64 £ condemned.

John McCole of Savill Gardens, London, also pleaded guilty to breaching Section 37(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Etc Act 1974 and was sentenced to 200 hours of community service and to pay expenses of fined £2,805.64

After the HSE Inspector’s hearing, Owen Rowley said: “Sorin’s death was entirely preventable. DCM is a volatile solvent and exposure to high vapor concentrations can cause unconsciousness and death.

“Anyone who intends to work with DCM-based products should carry out an appropriate and sufficient risk assessment and implement appropriate control measures. Crucially, DCM-based products should only be used in well-ventilated areas to prevent vapor build-up.”


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