A court on Monday convicted a company making industrial boilers of exposing employees to asbestos – a first in France. The former director of the Alstom Power Boiler site in Lys-les-Lannoy, near the northern town of Roubaix, also was convicted. The court fined the company US$96,435 – the maximum possible – and sentenced Bernard Gomez, 56, to a nine-month suspended jail term and a fine of US$3,857.


It awarded US$12,858 to each of the 150 employees in the case, all civil parties. It was the first time a French court ruled that a company was responsible for placing employees in danger by exposing them to asbestos, a hazardous substance.