Tragedy at Pasir Ris: 'It is not known how the men got on track'
SMRT held press conference yesterday evening to answer questions on death of its two employees.
Why were the two men on the trackway?
The two men were part of a 15-member team comprising track and signalling technicians who were sent onto the trackway.
Members of both teams had gone to determine the cause of an alarm that had gone off at a servicing point about 150m from the platform.
The two deceased were undergoing on-the-job training at the time of the accident, which was about 11.10am.
How did the accident happen?
SMRT's findings showed that the team was moving in a single file on the walkway beside the track, towards the servicing point.
A supervisor was at the head of the line and the two deceased were directly behind him.
The rest of the team was following behind.
The team was walking in the opposite direction of the oncoming train that was heading towards Pasir Ris station.
It is not known how the two men got on the track or got close enough to the train.
Where did the accident happen?
The accident happened about 150m from the station platform.
How fast was the train travelling?
At about 60kmh.
Was the train captain alerted that there were people on the track?
Train captains and drivers typically keep a lookout and can see what is on the track as they pass through. They also get alerts about activities taking place on the trackway.
SMRT is investigating if the train captain was aware that there were people on the track.
Why are people allowed on the track when the trains are in operation?
Carrying out track maintenance works while trains are running, whether during operating or non-operating hours, is standard.
Whenever a train fault is detected, SMRT has to investigate and determine the cause.
Occurrences where employees enter the track while the trains are still running happen a few times a month.
What is the protocol when SMRT employees enter the track?
All employees, permanent as well as trainees, are trained on safety issues before they can access the track.
SMRT employees need to first request for authorisation from the operation control centre and are allowed access to the track only after they get approval.
They will then walk in a single file along the walkway and have to ask for second permission for the power to be temporarily switched off.
In this case, the team got consent to enter the track, but the accident happened before it could ask for power to be cut.
How safe is it for employees to walk on the walkway?
There is a distance between the walkway and the track. Employees have been using this walkway to do maintenance all along and it is a safe passage for them to walk along.
How many passengers were on the train and how many commuters were affected?
There were about 35 passengers on the train and about 15,000 commuters were affected by the delay.
What is SMRT doing now?
SMRT has to establish what went wrong in the actual behaviour on the ground that caused the two men to be hit by the train.
They are also in touch with the families of the deceased.
Besides assisting the police in investigations, SMRT is also providing counselling for all employees directly involved in the incident.
CONDOLENCES FROM MINISTERS ON FACEBOOK
"We understand that faults and malfunctions do happen in our train system, and generally take them in our stride. But it is different when two young men lose their lives in a workplace accident. Whether it turns out to be an unforeseeable mishap, an individual lapse or a system problem, we must do our best to ensure this does not happen again."
- Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
"I am extremely saddened by the tragic accident at Pasir Ris MRT station this morning and would like to convey my deepest condolences to the families of the workers who were killed. We must all do our part to keep each other safe at the workplace. Every accident is one accident too many."
- Secretary General of National Trades Union Congress and MP for Tanjong Pagar Chan Chun Sing
"We are gathering the details to understand how the accident happened and how the safety procedures could be further strengthened. Meanwhile, our hearts are with the families and will do our best to support and assist them."
- Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan