Traces of asbestos have recently been detected in a closed technical space aboard two out of twenty examined trains of the “Sprinter” type series stock, put into service between 1986 and 1989, SNCB said Sunday. These asbestos traces were found in a closed technical space. There was no asbestos in passenger compartments.
For several years now, SNCB has a preventive monitoring program for the presence of asbestos on board of its rolling stock. It regularly takes samples for the identification of asbestos in its fleet.
The procedure set up by SNCB provides an additional test for the eventual presence of fibers in the air. These tests were conducted last 8 December by a certified laboratory on the two vehicles, removed since from service. The analysis report proves the absence of released fibers.
Train drivers say they are “very worried,” and fear that “the inhalation of asbestos fibers could cause asbestosis (pulmonary fibrosis), bronchi-pulmonary cancer, as well as cancer of the pleura (mesothelioma), of the larynx and of the digestive tract,” Philippe Dubois, CGSP Regional Permanent Secretary explains in a communication.
The Union’s Brussels branch “asks SNCB to immediately organize a Committee for Prevention and Protection of Workers, to inform the unions what measures have been taken to protect personnel.”
The reaction of the railway workers reminds us also of the obligation to make an inventory of material containing asbestos, to draw a management plan, and to ensure a medical monitoring of asbestos victim staff.