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Backgrounder: What you need to know about the fatal SMRT accident in March

SINGAPORE — Rail operator SMRT and two of its employees have been charged over a fatal accident in March, which resulted in the deaths of two trainees on the train tracks near Pasir Ris MRT station.

SCDF officers removing a body from the scene of the train accident at Pasir Ris MRT Station, March 22, 2016, which left two SMRT employees dead. TODAY file photo

SCDF officers removing a body from the scene of the train accident at Pasir Ris MRT Station, March 22, 2016, which left two SMRT employees dead. TODAY file photo

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SINGAPORE — Rail operator SMRT and two of its employees have been charged over a fatal accident in March, which resulted in the deaths of two trainees on the train tracks near Pasir Ris MRT station.

We recap the events surrounding the incident on March 22 this year:

March 22

• SMRT trainees Nasrulhudin Najumudin, 26 and Muhammad Asyraf Ahmad Buhari, 24, were killed by a train pulling into Pasir Ris station shortly after 11am.

• Both men were 150m away from the station platform, and were part of a 15-member team sent earlier that morning to assess a warning signal from a signalling condition monitoring device installed along the train tracks near the station.

• No other team members were injured.

March 23:

• SMRT said in a statement that safety procedures were not followed prior to the accident.

• The transport operator said its records did not show the team of 15 carry out a critical procedure before they were allowed to step back on to the trackway. “The team must coordinate with the signal unit at the station for oncoming trains to be brought to a stop and to ensure that no trains enter the affected sector,” SMRT said.

• Trains arriving at Pasir Ris can cross from one track to the other and berth at either one of the station’s two platforms. SMRT said the train involved in the accident was “moving in automatic mode” when it was routed to Platform 2, near where the maintenance team was walking. “When the train captain saw staff on the track, he immediately applied emergency brakes but was unable to prevent the accident,” SMRT added.

April 12

• Speaking in Parliament, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said “those responsible will be held to account”.

April 25

• SMRT disclosed an independent panel’s findings into the accident.

• The panel found that the team had stepped onto the train track before “vital” protection measures were implemented.

• A speed limit to prevent trains from entering the track area on automated mode was not set, and watchmen were not deployed to look out for and warn of approaching trains, “directly causing” the accident that killed two SMRT staff.

Sept 13

• SMRT reportedly sacked two staff connected to the Pasir Ris accident, including Mr Rahmat Mohd, 49, the driver of the train that struck the victims.

• The dismissals drew ire online, with many questioning why SMRT fired the duo before a coroner’s inquiry and results of the investigations were made public.

Dec 1

• SMRT and two employees were charged over the fatal accident.

• Director of control operations, Teo Wee Kiat, was accused of failing to take necessary measures to ensure the workers’ safety.

• Lim Say Heng, who was in charge of the work team of that went onto the tracks on March 22, was charged with causing death by a negligent act.

• All cases have been adjourned to Dec 30 for a pre-trial conference.

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