From Iceland — Receives No Compensation After Injuring Self Rescuing Co-Worker

Receives No Compensation After Injuring Self Rescuing Co-Worker

Published March 28, 2011

A former employee of the aluminium smelter Norðurál, who injured himself badly trying to save the life of a co-worker, has been denied disability compensation from the company.
DV reports that Þórarinn Björn Steinsson, a father of four, was at work one day when he and a co-worker witnessed a piece of machinery weighing close to 300 kilograms fall on another co-worker. The two quickly sprang to action. “In some kind of adrenaline rush we were able to lift the machinery while we dragged her out from under it,” he said in part.
However, Þórarinn badly injured his back in the process, rendering him unfit for work. Even after hospitalisation and years of physical therapy, he still needs to take painkillers throughout the day, and sleeping pills before going to bed at night.
Norðurál, for its part, does not recognise Þórarinn’s injuries as being a “work accident”. They say that Þórarinn should have thought twice before lifting the machinery off of his co-worker. As such, he has been denied any financial compensation for the injuries he incurred while rescuing a Norðurál employee.
Þórarinn is currently suing Norðurál for some kind of compensation. The case has no precedent in Iceland, though, making it difficult for any legal expert to say one way or the other how the case could go.

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