An experienced former SMRT technician, Mr Low, has shared with us the safety protocols that SMRT technical teams used to observe before they go onto the tracks to perform repairs during the day. According to Mr Low, these safety procedures were put in place 20 years ago, and he was extremely disappointed to read about the relaxed safety standards applied during this recent tragedy. He added that if the proper safety checks had been followed, the accident would never have happened.
Read his account of the old safety protocol practiced 20 years ago by SMRT technicians.
“Before SMRT Maintenance Teams go down to the track from from platform to attend any ad-hoc works that are not scheduled like preventive maintenance, speed codes on the track are to be down or set to restrict the speed of train to make it safe for the workers at the track site.
When the track codes are down, train PTO has only one choice, that is to run the train in RM or restricted mode not more than 18km/hour.
Best solution is to have a stalled train before the working site track area and this is the best protocol since there is a total of 15 persons and some more first time trainees on the job training during off peak traffic hours. More people on the track means higher risk factor.
Also to mention a signal staff using walkie talkie should be stationed in the relay room to monitor any departing train from Tampines to Pasir Ris and radio the team on site accordingly. There should also one person holding a red flag standing a certain distance before the work site as look out and flag the PTO.
The PTO will sound the train horn and/or flash the high beam light on the front car to acknowledge the flag signal. The person who holds the flag will blow whistle to the working team to alert them to clear tools and stay clear from the track. All work staffs are to wear high visible vest as well.
This is the best safety protocol back in 20 years but I really disappointed on the safety lapses when the report was out……sigh!”