SMRT Director fined $55,000 over deaths of trainee staff members

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SMRT’s Director of Control Operations, Teo Wee Kiat, was fined $55,000 in court last Friday over the untimely deaths of 2 trainee staff members, who were hit by a passenger train on 22 March last year.

The 41-year-old admitted that he failed to take necessary measures to ensure the safety of SMRT’s employees and failed to ensure that they complied with approved operating procedures during traffic hours. He also admitted that he failed to ensure the procedures passed safety audits and making sure that they were documented and disseminated.

The prosecution argued that the Operations Control Center under Teo’s charge had permitted employees to access the tracks while live trains were running – this is apparently in direct contravention of safety standards. The Ministry of Manpower further asserted that such practices date all the way back to 2002.

Both men who were killed, Mr Nasrulhudin Najumudin, 25, and Mr Muhammad Asyraf Ahmad Buhari, 24, joined SMRT in January 2016 and were part of a technical team of 15 that went down to the track to investigate a reported alarm from a condition monitoring device for signalling equipment. Track access was authorised and the men had been on the walkway alongside the track.

SMRT’s CEO, Desmond Kuek, confirmed soon after the accident on 22 Feb that the maintenance investigation was a “supervised activity” and that a supervisor had been walking in front of the two men killed. However, SMRT has now acknowledged that safety protocols were not followed in the lead-up to an accident.

SMRT’s safety protocols require the maintenance staff must coordinate with the Signal unit at the station for oncoming trains to be brought to a stop, and to ensure that no trains enter the affected area before they step on the trackway. SMRT said that its records do not show that this procedure took place.

Mr Kuek had on 22 Feb said, “exactly how they got on to the track, or got close enough to the oncoming train, that was moving in the direction opposite to them, is the issue that we’re trying to establish with the witnesses that we are trying to get detailed accounts from.”

Following this, several news outlets reported that the victims of the tragic accident near Pasir Ris station “were on the other side of the track from the dedicated walkway for maintenance staff when they were hit by the train.”

In response, SMRT only said that it is unable to confirm if the victims were on the trackway or on the walkway when they were hit, or if anyone in the group had deviated from the walkway at any point in time.

SMRT has since been fined $400,000 for the accident.

Netizens lambast SMRT for sacking staff involved in Pasir Ris accident

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21 comments

  1. So a life in Smrt term worth only 55k ? Fine ? Oh so ultimately the money still goes back to the gov agency ? ..
    First and far most ,the so called director should be sacked then the next one to be out on the chopping board should be the minister of transport .

  2. Ryan Huiso says:

    Wow! Really! 55k for that lives was taken! Seriously!!! Now people knows that if they die while working, this is the amount they are worth.‍♂️

  3. Outback says:

    Also need to address the issue of why the victims did not realise the train was approaching. Were they given the idea no train was running then?

  4. This is a backward country led by backward ex officers. The Director receives a fine for the practices that has been long standing. The families of the two lads receive nothing from the 55k and 400k fines. Desmond and OBWan do not receive fines for failing to steer the practices correctly. I find it daft that the top leaders are not held accountable at all.

  5. It was super obvious the death was caused by jokers not doing their work seriously. Now they take $55,000 n fire the guy. The 2 young lives gone. How much did they compensated the family? Our media have time to write glowing stories about the dearest leader but not like this.

  6. ****
    I tot MOM is set up to help protect labor agst employers’ abuse…. or was that purpose forgotten after then-Minister OTC secretly sanctioned a strike to protect SG workers?
    If the Ministry can cite long ago practices (instead of telling off SMRT for NOT improving labor protection), then shldnt MOM staff (fr Minister to Perm Sec) collect pay based on long ago standards?
    1. well bro MOM and SMRT all under one family la. do you think they really will fight themselves now do show only la. just that whatever the fine is the family member get nothing out of it just put on a show for Singaporean to see only la

    2. @Steve Chia: < ....A blood sacrifice has to be offered before any action is taken by the authorities in Singapore to correct unsafe practices.>
      *****
      For sake of the 85% SGreans staying in HDB, i pray a NEW PAP Minister will get killed using a HDB lift. Then we may c them rectifying the lift safety laws.

    3. Steve Chia says:

      As far as the MOM is concerned, as long as nobody is injured or killed by such shortcut practices, there is no proof that they are unsafe and dangerous. A blood sacrifice has to be offered before any action is taken by the authorities in Singapore to correct unsafe practices.

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