Parliament: Staff will be held accountable if human lapses caused fatal track accident, says Khaw Boon Wan

SCDF officers recovering the bodies of Mr Nasrulhudin Najumudin and Mr Muhammad Asyraf Ahmad Buhari near Pasir Ris MRT station on March 22.
SCDF officers recovering the bodies of Mr Nasrulhudin Najumudin and Mr Muhammad Asyraf Ahmad Buhari near Pasir Ris MRT station on March 22. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE - Investigations into a recent MRT track accident which killed two SMRT maintenance crew will establish whether there was a lack of safety procedures or if staff did not follow them, said Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan on Tuesday (April 12).

Should the investigations reveal human errors, those responsible will be held to account, Mr Khaw said in Parliament during the debate on his ministry's budget.

Speaking on the fatal accident which occurred some three weeks ago, Mr Khaw said he has also directed the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to work with operator SMRT to thoroughly review its safety-related procedures.

 
 

"Our common objective is to prevent such an accident from occurring again," Mr Khaw told the House.

On March 22, SMRT maintenance trainees Nasrulhudin Najumudin, 26, and Muhammad Asyraf Ahmad Buhari, 24, were hit and killed by an oncoming train on the tracks near Pasir Ris MRT station.

They were among a group of 15 technical staff sent down to the tracks to check on an alarm triggered by a monitoring sensor. SMRT has admitted that the team failed to notify a station signal unit that they were going back onto the track.

Mr Khaw said there will be a coroner's inquiry "in due course" to look into the deaths of the two Singaporeans, who just started work with SMRT in January.

Meanwhile, the SMRT has completed its investigations, which are being reviewed by independent experts, while the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and police are also conducting their own probes, he said.

In his speech, Mr Khaw also expressed his condolences to the families of both victims.

A week after the accident, the MOM, in consultation with the LTA, issued several interim safety orders to SMRT.

Among them, SMRT has to ensure that no trains are driven in automatic mode for sections of the track where workers are on an adjacent track walkway.

Watchmen should also be deployed to alert staff of any oncoming trains and there should be "robust authentication procedures" between workers on the tracks and the operations control centre.