External review panel evaluated SAF safety practices

The External Review Panel on SAF Safety (ERPSS) was set up in 2013 to assess various safety aspects of the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) over a three-year tenure.

Its work included making visits to army, navy and air force units to evaluate safety practices and recommend improvements.

The first panel was chaired by Mr Alan Chan Heng Loon, former chief executive of Singapore Press Holdings. Its members included senior medical consultants, law firm partners and high-level civil servants.

During their tenure, panel members visited 14 SAF formations, units and exercises to observe their safety practices and recommend improvements.

After a three-year review, the inaugural panel found that SAF commanders strongly emphasised safety in their training.

Members also said that the SAF has invested substantially in safety, and its management systems are sound and aligned with external industry standards.

The SAF also provides good medical support and healthcare for its soldiers, members said.

Still, there were areas that could be improved.

For example, the military could further promote the open reporting of accidents through the range of channels that are in place.

Members also suggested that it might be useful to share best practices across SAF units, so that they can learn from one another.

According to a Mindef statement in March last year, the SAF had accepted the panel's findings and it was in the process of implementing the recommendations.

The second ERPSS was formed in July last year.

Currently, it is being headed by Mr Heng Chiang Gnee, who was the chairman of the Workplace Safety and Health Council between April 2016 and March this year.

He was also a member of the inaugural panel.

Aw Cheng Wei

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2018, with the headline 'External review panel evaluated SAF safety practices'. Print Edition | Subscribe