SMRT Trains charged for technical officer's death in 2020 at Bishan Depot

Court documents cited multiple safety measures the rail operator had allegedly failed to take.

Matthias Ang | October 18, 2023, 12:42 PM



SMRT Trains was charged on Oct. 17, 2023, for the death of a technical officer in 2020 at Bishan Depot.

The charge pertained to its failure to take reasonable measures to ensure the safety and health of its employees, The Straits Times (ST) reported.

What happened to the officer?

According to a coroner's inquiry in February 2021, Muhammad Afiq Senawi, aged 30, had been operating a hydraulic press machine at the rolling stock workshop, where the maintenance of trains and their component parts are conducted, CNA reported.

While he was operating the machine, a spacer rod shot out, breached the fencing around the machine and hit him in the face.

Afiq was conveyed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where he later succumbed to his injuries and passed away.

SMRT Trains allegedly failed to take multiple safety measures

ST cited court documents which said that measures SMRT Trains allegedly failed to take include installing a pressure gauge for the hydraulic press machine after it had been dismantled for repairs and marking out a hazardous zone to notify operators of a safe distance to keep from the machine.

The rail operator also supposedly failed to limit the maximum operating pressure of the machine with pressure valves and ensure that workpieces used with the machine are engaged and interlocked to prevent their displacement while the machine is in operation.

In addition, SMRT Trains allegedly failed to ensure sufficient guarding for the machine to withstand the force exerted by a workpiece shooting from it during operation.

SMRT Trains could face fine of up to S$1 million

Should SMRT Trains be found guilty, it could face an enhanced punishment — a fine of up to S$1 million.

The rail operator was previously convicted and fined S$400,000 in 2017, for a workplace safety lapse which resulted in the death of two trainees.

The two trainees had been part of a 15-member team that was inspecting a fault on the track when they were hit by a train at Pasir Ris MRT station in March 2016.

The current case has been adjourned to Nov. 30.

Top photo by ZKang123 via Wikipedia