Situation at NS
<p>During standard independent research when preparing for work on the train type DDM1 at NS subsidiary NedTrain, chromium-6 was discovered in the old layers of paint and in some components. As soon as the substance was detected, NedTrain ceased any potentially risky operations and an investigation was started in order to get a clear picture of the situation at NedTrain. At this point in time, we determined that the safety of employees was not at risk. We are conducting further investigations into the situation in the past. </p>
NedTrain has compiled an inventory of where else chromium-6 may be present and investigated whether the substance could be released during work activities. This revealed that chromium trioxide could be present in old layers of paint on the exterior of the following train types SGM, ICM, ICR, Mat’64, loc DDAR, DDM1, E1700 and may be present in certain fasteners in other train types. The safety regulations that are currently in use at NedTrain ensure that the risk of exposure is kept to a minimum. Employees are not exposed to levels of chromium-6 higher than the permitted standard. In addition, new measures for improvement have been taken to reduce risks further, such as the use of new dust covers and changes to work methods.
Safety and care for employees
As soon as the chromium-6 had been detected, we notified all of the employees involved, the works council, the Inspectorate SZW and soon thereafter the trade unions as well. We exercise due diligence and acknowledge the concerns that employees have. After all, chromium-6 raises many emotions, especially after reports from the Ministry of Defence on the subject. Some employees and their family members are concerned.
For this reason we are continuously keeping our employees informed with regards to the ongoing investigations, the possibilities for independent medical examinations and the measures for improvement that have been taken. We immediately enlisted the help of a specialised external bureau to conduct investigation into exposure to chromium-6 on our behalf. The RIVM is now also involved, due to their knowledge and experience in this area, and a special programme has been set up within NedTrain to look into the current and the past situation and anything else related to this issue.