Father of Daniel Timbers raised concerns over “fire risk” in months before factory explosion which killed his son

29-year-old Daniel Timbers (left) and 56-year-old Barry Joy (right). Picture: Norfolk Police

29-year-old Daniel Timbers (left) and 56-year-old Barry Joy (right). Picture: Norfolk Police - Credit: Archant

Paint sprayers had repeatedly raised health and safety concerns at a Norwich factory in the months before two men died in an explosion, an inquest has heard.

Daniel Timbers, 28, had been covering for his father Nick on July 13, 2015, when a blast went off in the spray booth where he was working with 58-year-old Barry Joy.

Experienced paint sprayer Nick Timbers told Norfolk Coroner's Court how the electrics in the new spray booth, bought from RAF Lyneham and reassembled at Harford Attachments on Spar Road, would trip 'regularly', around three or four times a week.

It was still happening the week before the incident.

There was also a 205 litre drum of paint thinners and solvents for cleaning spray guns, kept inside the booth.

'I pointed out that the drum shouldn't be in there because it is a big potential fire hazard,' said Mr Timbers, who had previously worked spraying cars for Lotus.

'Every other paint spraying place I have been it would be outside the building. In the end we just gave up.

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'Everything was thick with paint in there and I saw sparks several times while I was spraying.

'The electrics would trip out in the booth. It would be pitch black and we would have to make our way out to flick a switch. It was quite regular.

'We were told they would get it looked at but it was never sorted out. The problems just carried on. It got to the point we would take our health and safety concerns to [production manager] Steve Pleasance. Chris Brown [foreman and health and safety officer] wasn't interested.'

Mr Timbers said once he had once seen a spark arc between the drum and the spray gun and immediately turned the power off.

Daniel Timbers had been training as a welder in college at the time of the incident and would regularly fill in for his dad in the spray booth.

He had a son, Ryan, born in 2013, and was 'like a dad' to the three children of his partner, Faye Howes, from a different relationship.

Mr Timbers said of his son: 'When he got together with Ms Howes he became a man. His clubbing and raving days ended and he stopped drinking.

'She and the children were his priority.'

The inquest continues.

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