Man killed during repairs had used unapproved jacks to lift bus, court told

A man who was killed last June while repairing a bus in a workshop at SMRT's Ang Mo Kio bus depot did not adhere to standard operating procedures and had used unapproved jacks to lift the vehicle, a coroner's court heard yesterday.

One of the jacks then gave way and the chassis of the bus struck Mr Thin Soon Fatt's head as he was underneath it.

The 43-year-old was rushed to hospital and he succumbed to head injuries.

In an inquiry into the tragedy, police investigation officer Li Sin Rong told State Coroner Adam Nakhoda that Mr Thin was then working for Strides Automotive Services, a subsidiary of SMRT.

Inspector Li said an investigation revealed that Mr Thin had brought the jacks, which were not issued by Strides, to the incident location.

Mr Ng Chee Hwee, who is from the Occupational Safety and Health Division of the Ministry of Manpower, also testified in court yesterday.

He told State Coroner Nakhoda that there was no reason for the jacks to be at the incident location, and they were not part of the standard equipment.

Mr Ng said that on June 6 last year, Mr Thin and two of his colleagues were deployed to repair the vehicle, a new BYD electric bus that had a loose steering wheel.

The Straits Times had earlier reported that the vehicle can accommodate 19 seated and five standing passengers, plus one wheelchair bay. Mr Ng said that the whole bus weighed 7.5 tonnes while its front portion alone weighed nearly 3 tonnes.

He added that the two jacks, which were used to support the front part of the vehicle during the repair, could support around 2 tonnes in total.

Mr Ng said that after the repair was done, Mr Thin was under the vehicle and he could have lowered one of the jacks.

As a result, the other jack bore more weight and became overloaded. It gave way and the chassis of the bus struck Mr Thin.

The court heard that instead of using the two jacks, the men should have used an air-assisted hydraulic jack to lift the bus, and then placed vehicle stands underneath the bus to support it.

Mr Ng said that during an investigation after the tragedy, one of Mr Thin's colleagues said that he wanted to use the proper jack and vehicle stands.

The colleague told investigators that Mr Thin, who was the supervisor, dissuaded him from doing so.

State Coroner Nakhoda will give his findings at a later date.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2022, with the headline Man killed during repairs had used unapproved jacks to lift bus, court told. Subscribe