Dockyard workers escape death by toxic toilet fumes


Leith docks today where three workers collapsed cleaning a toilet block.

By Kirsty Topping

THREE dockyard workers narrowly avoided death today (Wed) after they were overcome by toxic fumes while cleaning a toilet block.

The men were using hydrochloric acid to clean the facility at Leith Docks when they collapsed.

As many as ten emergency vehicles went to the scene, including firefighters wearing breathing masks who pulled the men to safety.

They were treated outside before being taken by ambulance to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary as a


The incident happened at the premises of Bredero Shaw, a pipe coating manufacturer which operates out of the docks.

A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue said: “We were called a 8.44am to assist the ambulance service as three workers had been overcome by fumes from a 10 to 15% hydrochloric acid solution.

“We moved a drum of chemicals outside.”

Fang Lin, who runs a burger van at the dockyard gate, said he had seen “at least ten” emergency vehicles rush to the scene.

He said: “I saw them come in at about half past 8.

“I heard a guy say people had put chemicals down the toilet and it gave off poison and when people went in they couldn’t breathe.”

Lothian and Borders police confirmed the casualties as males, aged 64, 57 and 23.

A police spokesman said: “Three men inhaled a chemical substance which they were using in the course of their work.

“They were taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary as a precaution.”

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