Solvent ignited during floor cleaning works

Flammable solvent fire fought with water spreading fire further

A South end-on-Sea aircraft refinishing company has been fined £66,000 after employees were put at serious risk during a fire within an aircraft hangar on 16th August 2017.

Chelmsford Magistrates heard how workers were cleaning the floor of an aircraft hangar used for paint spraying aircraft.

The aircraft hangar floor was contaminated with paint residue and the employees poured flammable solvent onto the floor to remove the paint residue. The solvent they were using for cleaning ignited.

An unsuccessful attempt was made to extinguish the fire using buckets of water, which spread the fire further. All persons were evacuated from the building.

Solvent used in uncontrolled manner

HSE investigators found that the defendant had not carried out an assessment on the floor cleaning process which was undertaken annually in this manner.

The solvent used was highly flammable and used in an uncontrolled manner. Employees had little knowledge about the flammability of the solvent and firefighting measures required.

  • Air Livery Limited – of Aviation Way, Southend on Sea has pleaded guilty to breaching Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Regulation 5(1) of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002. The company has been fined £66,000 and ordered to pay costs of £5,496.85.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Jill Mead said :“This was a serious incident and it is fortunate that nobody was injured as a result of it.

Those in control of work have a responsibility to devise safe methods of working to provide the necessary information, instruction and training to their workers in the safe system of working.

Readily available solvents used daily for cleaning paint spraying equipment are extremely flammable and their use should be assessed”