Aalborg, Denmark — Siemens has lost an occupational exposure compensation case based on former employees’ exposure to diisocyanates used in the process of wind turbine production.
The three employees were collectively awarded DKK 900,000 (EUR 121,000) in the first of a series of settlements for their injuries. The settlement covers the "first one to two years' of illness," said Christian Riewe of law firm Bjorst, who represented the claimants.
As UTECH-polyurethane.com reported previously, Siemens failed to obtain a special licence to use a spray PU foam insulation between 2004 and 2011 at two facilities in Aalborg in the North West of Denmark.
Riewe said the 80-page verdict included 10 pages of direct comment from Judge Kirsten Schmidt.
"It is a very clear sentence. We were not even close to losing," Riewe said.
“As far as responsibility, the court found two processes involving the use of epoxy and diisocyanates had not been handled properly. The company had failed to examine and measure how this could affect the employees,” said Riewe. He added that the sentence shows “you have to be very careful [because] it is dangerous.”
The three employees are currently not working and would not be able to return to the turbine production industry due to allergies caused by their exposure, said Riewe.
The Aalborg civil court was told by Riewe that the method and timing of spray foaming at Siemens put the claimants at risk of diisocyanate exposure.
The employees symptoms first began to show in 2010, having joined the firm in 2004, 2005 and 2008 respectively. Siemens had moved them to other areas of work once their symptoms were confirmed but the workers had been unable to continue with the firm once their conditions worsened. He said it was possible they could perform non-manual work in the future.
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