Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT) Trains, and two of its employees were charged over a fatal accident on 22 March near Pasir Ris train station which claimed two lives of its trainee.
SMRT, which is expected to plead guilty, was charged under Section 12 of the Workplace Safety and Health Act.
Anybody found guilty under this Act and has no penalty expressly provided shall be liable to a fine not more than S$200,000 or jail of up to two years, or both. While, if it is the case of a corporate body, the fine is up to S$500,000.
The Act states that it is the duty of every employer to take measures necessary to ensure the safety and health of employees at work so far as is reasonably practicable.
The charge sheet wrote that the company had failed to ensure that its employees complied with approved operating procedures when accessing the track, as well as the procedures practised by staff that day to access the tracks passed safety audits, were documented and disseminated.
Ng Bor Kiat, SMRT Chief Technology Officer, was in court on Thursday to receive the charge on behalf of the company.
Teo Wee Kiat, 40, one of SMRT’s directors, was also charged under Section 48 (1) of the same Act. The Act states that should an offence be committed by a corporate body, an officer of this body shall be guilty of the offence and be liable to be punished. Teo faces a fine of up to $200,000 and/or a jail term of up to two years
Prosecutors also charged Lim Say Heng, 47, with causing death by a negligent act under the Penal Code. He is the officer-in-charge of the work party which was inspecting the tracks on the day of the fatal accident.
According to the charge sheet, he failed to ensure that the necessary safety measures were in place to make sure trains do not enter the train track while they were there.
He faces a jail term of up to two years, a fine, or both, if found guilty. However, a bail of S$15,000 has been offered to Lim.
Lim was dismissed last September due to the accident, according to Channel News Asia. On September, the public transport operator also dismissed two of its staff including the train driver, Rahmat Mohd, 49.
The National Transport Workers’ Union Executive Secretary Melvin Yong said the union would support Mr Lim and his family and ensure that he was fairly represented.
Mr Yong said, “Whilst we cannot comment on any ongoing legal proceedings, the union maintains that it is important to allow due process to take its course and all facts to be revealed before drawing any conclusions.”
Nasrulhudin Najumudin, 26, and Muhammad Asyraf Ahmad Buhari, 24, were the two who died in the accident. They had earlier joined SMRT in January 2016. They were undergoing on-the-job training when they were hit by an oncoming train. Permission to access the tracks was authorised.
There were 15 employees in the team who went on track to investigate a possible fault involving a signalling device on the tracks. Mr Lim, who was the first in line, managed to escape on time when the train approached. However, Nasrulhudin and Asyraf, who were on the second and third in line failed to react on time.
Although stating that the staff followed its standard procedure at the beginning, SMRT later admitted after the accident that maintenance staff had not followed safety procedures.
The Attorney-General’s Chambers said that investigations are still ongoing to determine if any other individuals may be liable for workplace safety lapses in connection with the incident.
A pre-trial conference has been set on 30 December for all three charges.