Tilburg, NS liable for workers' health problems caused by Chromium 6 paint

An NS train waiting on the tracks (Photo: TahR78/Wikipedia)
An NS train waiting on the tracks (Photo: TahR78/Wikipedia). (An NS train waiting on the tracks (Photo: TahR78/Wikipedia))

The municipality of Tilburg, the Railway Museum, and NS subsidiary NedTrain are responsible for health damage suffered by people who were exposed to carcinogenic chromium 6 while refurbishing old trains in a NS workplace, according to a committee that investigated exposure to chromium 6 at the NS workplace and the subsequent health complaints, NOS reports. 

Between 2004 and 2012 more than 800 welfare recipients refurbished old trains in a NS workplace in Tilburg as part of a reintegration project. Years later it was revealed that chromium 6 may have been present in the paint these workers scoured from the trains. Many of those involved have since been struggling with health problems. Some 70 people already held the municipality responsible for this.

The municipality of Tilburg asked a committee to investigate. According to this committee, the municipality of Tilburg, NedTrain and the Railway Museum were all negligent. Information about the danger of chromium 6 was not shared and they did not listen to employee concerns. The committee calls on all three parties to financially accommodate all the persons who may have been exposed to chromium 6 during this work placement program. The municipality must take the lead in this.

"According to the committee, unnecessary suffering was caused", committee chairman Peter van der Velden said while presenting the committee's findings. "It went badly wrong." According to him, it is possible that people are already sick due to their exposure to chromium 6, or will become sick in the future. "We can not give guarantees and that is very painful", he said, according to NOS. 

Mayor Theo Weterings of Tilburg said that the municipality will present a compensation proposal for the victims next week, once the committee's report has been fully studied. In an initial reaction, Weterings said that the report is "a harsh conclusion". He apologized for what happened at the NS workplace. "This should never have happened."

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