Sheriff to give determination on builder’s death soon

The family of a builder who died after a canister of expanding foam exploded in his chest will have to wait another four weeks before the sheriff presiding over an official inquiry into his death delivers his determination on the accident.

James Thomson was killed when the can of Evo-Stick foam he was holding exploded as he helped build a house in Levenwick in March 2007.

A fatal accident inquiry started at Lerwick Sheriff Court last August, but was delayed after just two days until January after it transpired questions needed to be asked of the canister’s Swiss manufacturer, Polypag AG.

Under questioning in the new year via video link from Switzerland, Polypag defended its manufacturing and safety record, however sheriff Graeme Napier called for further questions to be put to the company’s chemical technician Torsten Kellner following conflicting evidence from the Health and Safety Executive.

The HSE’s Dr John White suggested the explosion could have been caused by a manufacturing fault, as the fan heater Mr Thomson had used to heat the can – common practice in the building trade to help the foam work better – would not have been powerful enough to cause the blast.

The inquiry was adjourned until March. At that time it emerged Polypag were carrying out fresh investigations, the results of which would not be made available until this week.

On Wednesday the inquiry heard Polypag’s report had brought no new evidence, and Sheriff Napier said he hoped to have a determination ready in four weeks’ time.


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