Parliament: Tighter training safety regulations for armour vehicle commanders after death of NSF in Australia

File photo of the Singapore Armed Forces' Bionix Infantry Fighting Vehicle.
File photo of the Singapore Armed Forces' Bionix Infantry Fighting Vehicle.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will tighten training safety regulations for armour vehicle commanders, following the death of a full-time national serviceman last September.

The regulations will limit the exposure of the body of the vehicle commander to waist level when he is executing certain operational tasks in the vehicle, said Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen in Parliament on Thursday (May 17).

Last September, Third Sergeant Gavin Chan, a vehicle commander, died during an annual military exercise in Queensland, Australia, when the tank he was guiding landed on its side.

A Queensland coroner's report noted that it was "unfortunate that he took the decision to position himself with a significant portion of his body exposed outside the vehicle".

In his ministerial statement, Dr Ng said the SAF has followed up on 3SG Chan's death and implemented additional training for armour vehicle commanders.

Besides tighter training regulations, the SAF has also implemented a drill to formalise the operational procedure for day-to-night and night-to-day transitions.

The drill will include a check on a night vision device and other night-fighting equipment, said Dr Ng, adding that checks on seatbelts will be enforced.


Third Sergeant Gavin Chan, who died during an annual military exercise in Queensland, Australia, when the tank he was guiding landed on its side. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF DEFENCE

 

"Disciplinary actions will be taken against those found in breach of safety," he added.

The changes are based on findings by a Committee of Inquiry that was convened to investigate 3SG Chan's death and Australian authorities. 3SG Chan had died in Shoalwater Bay Training Area, near Rockhampton in Queensland.