SMRT Trains fined S$400,000 for safety lapses in 2016 incident

SMRT Trains Ltd was slapped with a record fine of S$400,000 on Tuesday for failure to take necessary measures to ensure the safety and health of its employees who had to access the train tracks during traffic hours.

The train operator pleaded guilty to a charge under Section 12 (1) of the Workplace Safety and Health Act (Chapter 354A) on Tuesday.

According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Manpower, SMRT had not complied with operating procedures on the day of the accident on March 22 last year. On that day, two trainees were hit and killed by an oncoming train between Tampines MRT station and Pasir Ris MRT station.

"In fact, non-compliance had been taking place as early as 2002," said the MOM, adding that these "deviations" were neither documented nor properly authorised.

The stiff sentence imposed on the public train operator serves as a deterrence against companies that do not exercise sufficient diligence in implementing a workplace safety and health management system, the ministry added.

Director of MOM's Occupational Safety and Health Inspectorate Chan Yew Kwong said: "Many workplace injuries and fatalities can be traced to organisational and system failures in the overall management of workplace safety.

SMRT's failure to set clear and effective safety policies for the organisation to follow resulted in the unfortunate loss of lives. There is no excuse when companies fail to protect their employees from workplace safety and health risks."

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