SMRT forms board of inquiry to look into fatal accident at workshop

The automotive services commercial repair centre at Ang Mo Kio SMRT bus depot. One technician was killed and another injured when a car jack supporting a minibus they were working on gave way.
The automotive services commercial repair centre at Ang Mo Kio SMRT bus depot. One technician was killed and another injured when a car jack supporting a minibus they were working on gave way.ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

SMRT has appointed a board of inquiry - chaired by its board member Quek Gim Pew and an independent mechanical engineering expert, Associate Professor Patrick Chua from the Singapore Institute of Technology - to look into a fatal accident at its automotive services workshop in the Ang Mo Kio depot on Sunday.

One technician was killed and another injured when a car jack supporting a minibus they were working on gave way.

The transport operator said in a Facebook post yesterday that three technicians had attended to the inspection and rectification of the vehicle's loose steering wheel. They used two car jacks to lift the front of the minibus and two of them proceeded with repair works underneath it.

SMRT said they were injured and taken to hospital, where one died. The other has been discharged and is on medical leave.

Police said they received a call around 9.40am on Sunday. A 44-year-old man was conscious when taken to hospital, it added. Another man, 43, was unconscious.

They were taken to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, said the Singapore Civil Defence Force, adding that one had head injuries, while the other complained of chest pains.

SMRT said its immediate priority was to provide support to the family of the dead worker, and offer counselling and support to the recovering technician.

The Workplace Safety and Health Council on Thursday said such accidents could be prevented if proper jacking tools were used. "Where available, use a vehicle maintenance pit or purpose-built vehicle ramp or lift to safely access the bottom of a vehicle," it stated.

Sunday's incident is the second workplace fatality for SMRT in two years. In March last year, a technical officer died at the Bishan depot. He was operating a hydraulic press machine when a 5kg rod flew out and hit him in the face.

These incidents followed other serious worksite accidents at SMRT.

In 2016, two trainees aged 24 and 26 were killed on a track near Pasir Ris MRT station. In 2018, a 59-year-old worker had his right foot amputated after it was crushed by a maintenance train.

The 2016 tragedy was found to have been caused by a failure to impose safety protocols while the cause of the other incident has not yet been made known.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 12, 2021, with the headline 'SMRT forms board of inquiry to look into fatal accident at workshop'. Subscribe