According to the UK’s Vehicle Certification Agency’s website: ‘Substances and materials which are dangerous for transport range from those which present obvious risks, such as explosives and fuming acids, through to more frequently encountered products such as paints, solvents and pesticides

Of all the materials in the construction industry, those in the painting and decorating sector are amongst the most volatile. Paints, adhesives, solvents, and thinners can be not just flammable, but give off noxious fumes which, if inhaled regularly can induce sickness, dizziness, and even blackouts. 

If you are a self-employed painter and decorator, or run a small two or three man decorating business, much of your work no-doubt involves redecorating owner-occupied properties. While working, the professional decorator ensures adequate ventilation, such as windows or doors being left ajar, to allow fumes and odours to escape while adhesives and paints are going through the drying process. At the end of a day’s work, you leave instructions with the occupier to ensure the rooms’ remain empty and well ventilated until the drying process is complete, especially if young children or babies are involved.

But what happens then?

Those dust sheets, with wet patches where solvent has been spilt and with still wet paint blobs are rolled up and thrown into the back of the van. Tins part filled with thinners containing brushes and roller heads yet to be properly cleaned, and lidless tins with the liquid paint dregs in the bottom, are all stacked in the van. Off you go down the road, windows wound up against winter’s cold blast, while the vapours, with no means of escape, begin to accumulate inside the vehicle. 

Working with paints and solvents all day your nose may have become desensitised to the fumes. The first you realise anything is amiss is when you begin to feel slightly nauseous or dizzy, or worse, when you suddenly realise you are allowing the van to drift across other lanes.

Make sure you don’t run the risk of being overcome by fumes while driving. Fitting a wind driven roof vent to your van is simplicity itself. With the slightest breeze or movement of the vehicle being enough to spin the vent, it draws up the air and any accumulated fumes, and sucks them out of the van. 

Cheap to buy, and fitted in 30 minutes by anyone with basic DIY skills, wind driven roof vents have no cables to be run, and are compact and effective. The size of the vent ensures ladders and scaffold planks can still be strapped to roof racks while the vent continues to do its work. 

If you ever arrive back at your yard or unit after a couple of hours drive feeling slightly sick or dizzy, maybe it isn’t that burger you grabbed by the roadside. Think fumes, think toxic, and take half-an-hour to fit a wind powered roof vent to your van, and ensure you’re not the one who ends up as another statistic.