A WOMAN whose husband died from breathing in a lethal chemical at work said employers must take more care with health and safety to prevent future deaths.

Stacey Tilcock’s husband, Paul, was found dead in a house where he was laying the floor for work.

At the time of his death, the 30-year-old appeared to be wearing a mask that was completely ineffective at protecting him against the chemicals he was working with.

His employer and the supplier have been fined £750,000 between them for the careless management and the supply of dangerous chemicals.

Mrs Tilcock, 42, and her nine-year-old son Joe, from Coldean in Brighton, have been suffering with their mental health since Mr Tilcock’s death in 2015.

She said: “Joe and him were inseparable. Joe’s now afraid something is going to happen to me. This shouldn’t have happened. Companies have to be more careful.

“Before the investigation the police, when they came and knocked on my door to tell me he was dead, said they believed it was the glue he was working with that did it and they were right.

“The post mortem shows this chemical, dichloromethane, was in his system when they checked him. It’s really strong stuff.”

Her husband’s employer, Ewell-based T Brown Group, was fined £250,000 at Westminster Magistrates’ Court last month after admitting breaching a section of the Health and Safety at Work Act relating to the care of its employees. Altro Ltd, of Letchworth, Hertfordshire, admitted a separate breach of failing to ensure the supply of products that were safe and was fined £500,000.

Mrs Tilcock, who works as a cleaner at St John Baptist School, said: “A little mess up to them has had a massive impact on us. We are without a dad and a husband and this will affect us forever. It shouldn’t happen again and I really hope that it doesn’t.”

The floor adhesive is no longer used following a safety review. Mr Tilcock, described as an experienced worker, was found by the customer on the floor at a house in Mitcham, south London, in September 2015.

He left for work at about 8am and Mrs Tilcock hadn’t heard from him from 11am onwards. Twelve hours later they told her he was found dead by the customer at about 7pm.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that T Brown Group Ltd had not implemented any adequate procedures to warn its employees about working in an enclosed space with a substance known to be hazardous to health, namely dichloromethane. The decision on whether to wear face masks was left up to employees.

A spokesman at Altro said: “Everyone at Altro was distressed and saddened by the news of the tragic death of Mr Tilcock. We deeply regret this accident and the profound effect that his loss has had upon his family and friends. As soon as we learned of Mr Tilcock’s death, we promptly suspended all sales of Altrofix 25NF and no longer sell the product.”

He said since the incident extensive safety measures have been carried out and put in place.

A spokesman at T Brown Group said Mr Tilcock is deeply missed and he was a popular employee.

He said: “T Brown unreservedly apologises to Mrs Tilcock and her family for the part it played in the events that led to the incident that sadly cost his life.”

He said there was a lack of realisation in the industry at large about the dangers of this product and the company has acted swiftly and responsibly to ensure the correct measures are in place to prevent such an incident again.