Men who died in industrial explosion were working with new electrostatic system
- Credit: Archant
Two industrial workers who died in a fire at a digger bucket factory had been working in a booth dating from the 1980s with state-of-the-art new equipment, an inquest heard.
The spray booth where Daniel Timbers and Barry Joy had been working at Harford Attachments had been bought from an RAF base in Wiltshire after it closed in 2012.
It was installed at the factory in Norwich in March 2014, Norfolk Coroners' Court heard at an inquest.
The company had bought new electrostatic spraying equipment to fit in the booths in early 2015 to minimise wastage of paint.
Kenneth Stedman, managing director of Industrial Powder and Paint Services, advised Harford on the purchases of the booths from RAF Lyneham. He said they were 'well kept for their age'.
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Mr Stedman said he recommended a 'powder coating' system as an option to Harford, which would eliminate any fire risk.
'The advantage of powder coating is there is no solvent in the system,' he said. 'There is no volatile organic compound and so there is no fire risk.'
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The booth had a fire suppression system fitted at RAF Lyneham, which the court heard was not transported to Harfords Attachments.
Sub-contractor Leighton Wing, of SSCO Ltd, dismantled the booths at RAF Lyneham and transported them.
He told the court he left much of the equipment at the base as it would need to be upgraded.
Vernon Oak was contracted to assemble the booths at Spar Road in March 2014 and said one looked like 'a pile of scrap which had been hacked down'.
'Personally speaking, I would have sent it straight to the scrap yard,' he said.
Paul Ashleigh, sales executive at Wagner Spray Tech UK, sold the electrostatic spray equipment to Harford.
He told the court everything in the spray booths should be earthed, otherwise the electric charge in the paint could 'jump' and the operator could get an electric shock.
He added rubber shouldn't be worn on the hands or feet or the electric charge could 'build up'. He said Wagner offers full-day training sessions but Harford did not request one.
Joseph Sowinski, managing director of Camtrak UK Ltd – which installed a monorail within the spray booth – told the court Harford installed the electrostatic equipment without his knowledge so it was not earthed.
The inquest, expected to last 10 days, continues.