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SMRT admits that safety lapse led to deaths of two of its staff

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SMRT in a press release today (25 Apr) admitted that its “failure to apply a vital safety procedure led to the tragic accident on 22 March 2016” in which two SMRT staff, Nasrulhudin and Muhammad Asyraf, died.
SMRT’s Accident Review Panel comprising of the train operator’s own Board Risk Committee as well as three independent experts from Keppel Corporation, Transport for London and one who who was formerly with Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway Corporation, released the press statement after completing its investigations into the fatal accident near Pasir Ris MRT Station on Mar 22.
It said that a “vital safety protection measure was not applied and the effectiveness of such protection before entry in to the work site was not ensured as required.”
Explaining what happened on the fateful day, SMRT said:
“On the day of the accident, a joint engineering team comprising six Signal staff (including four trainees) and nine Permanent Way staff (including two trainees) were tasked to examine a signaling condition monitoring device along the tracks near Pasir Ris MRT Station.
The device had earlier registered a warning of a possible fault that could affect train service. The engineering team made their way to the device in single file along the maintenance walkway. As they approached the device, the Signal team, led by the supervisor, stepped onto the track before protection measures were implemented.
The supervisor narrowly avoided being hit by the oncoming train, but Nasrulhudin and Muhammad Asyraf, who were second and third in line, were unable to react in time.”
Safety measures such as setting the speed limit on the affected track sector to 0 km/h so that no train can enter on automated mode, and deployment of watchmen to look out for approaching trains and provide early warning to the work team, must be applied before a work team is allowed onto the track, SMRT said.
The Panel also identified other areas for improvement including track access management controls, communication protocols and track vigilance by various parties.
The Panel concluded that “while existing protection mechanisms are adequate, and current operating procedures continue to be relevant and applicable, these can be improved for greater clarity and ease of ground implementation.”
SMRT added that they are “comprehensively reviewing all its safety structures, processes and compliance”, and that they “deeply regrets that the failure to apply a vital safety procedure led to the tragic accident on 22 March 2016.”

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