Fatalities down in work-linked traffic accidents

The number of drivers and riders killed in work-related traffic accidents declined from 14 in 2013 to five last year, Minister of State for Manpower Sam Tan told Parliament yesterday.

He added that Workplace Traffic Safety Management guidelines, issued by the Workplace Safety and Health Council, include recommendations on preventing driver fatigue such as limiting shift work to no more than 12 hours.

"Failure to comply with these guidelines can be used as an aggravating factor against employers in court in the event of accidents and injuries," said Mr Tan.

He was replying to Ms Joan Pereira (Tanjong Pagar GRC), who asked whether the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) would consider mandating the hours of work and rest for drivers, in line with recommendations by the International Labour Organisation.

In response to questions from Non-Constituency MP Dennis Tan, he noted that six "very indepth" inspections of MRT track operations were conducted last year.

While the focus was previously on other aspects of operations, he said inspections of track operations, previously found to be "quite safe", were stepped up after the accident in March last yearwhere two SMRT trainees died. The men - part of a team sent to investigate a possible fault - were killed by an oncoming train near Pasir Ris station.

The MOM uncovered several "unauthorised evasions of safety procedures" during these inspections, said the minister of state.

"All these additional inspections, we believe, will help to increase the safety standards in MRT operations."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 09, 2017, with the headline 'Fatalities down in work-linked traffic accidents'. Print Edition | Subscribe