SMRT Track Deaths: For Efficiency’s Sake, Staff are Obligated to Risk Their Lives

Why were staff allowed on the tracks to investigate an alarm while trains were still running?

SMRT says that such a move is standard protocol to deliver a high level of service.

Said an SMRT spokesman:

“Delivering a high level of reliability in our network is a priority and maintenance has to be carried out during service hours to ensure this. Whenever there is a warning registered along the network during train service, maintenance staff are given track access to investigate the cause.”

SMRT says that, on average, about 2 to 3 authorisations are given per day, and that it hasn’t compromised on safety in order to maintain service standards:

“Safety procedures are in place and we are mindful that these need to be followed closely as they are intended for staff and commuter well-being and protection.”

This comes in the wake of Tuesday’s tragedy, where two trainee technicians were killed while proceeding to investigate a fault.

The two were part of a team of 15 that was sent down the track.

SMRT says that the tragedy stemmed from the team not following safety procedures.

The transport operator says it has formed a team tasked with evaluating all workplace safety procedures, and has also instituted mandatory work-team level safety reviews.

While this is the first time staff have been killed working on the North-South-East-West Lines, a similar fatal incident happened on SMRT’s LRT network back in 2010, leading to a lawsuit against the company.

Questions have been raised as to whether SMRT could have done more to improve its safety measures following that death.

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