MRT tunnel flooding probe: 6 SMRT staff to face disciplinary action over falsified records

MRT tunnel flooding probe: 6 SMRT staff to face disciplinary action over falsified records

Seven managerial staff have also been suspended as part of an inquiry into what happened.

02:21
Six SMRT staff will face disciplinary proceedings after the transport operator's investigation found that maintenance records for a water pump system at Bishan MRT station were falsified. 

SINGAPORE: Six SMRT staff will face disciplinary proceedings after the transport operator's investigation found that maintenance records for a water pump system at Bishan MRT station were falsified. 

The six employees include a manager, an engineering supervisor and four crew members from the Building and Facilities Maintenance group, said SMRT in a media release on Monday (Nov 6).

It added that an inquiry is being conducted against seven other managerial staff, including two executives at the vice-president level. All of them have been suspended. 

SMRT first revealed last week that the maintenance team in charge of a water pump system at Bishan MRT station had signed off on works that were not done.

The poor state of the pump system led to flooding along a stretch of the North-South Line tunnel on Oct 7, disrupting train services for 20 hours. 

An SMRT train in a flooded MRT tunnel, in a photo widely circulated on social media. 

Giving more details of their investigation on Monday, SMRT said the Bishan pump system, known as the portal sump pump, was last maintained on Jul 13, 2017. "However, the investigation revealed that there were instances of falsified records of scheduled maintenance works by this team between December 2016 and June 2017," it added.

SMRT also said it will take the incident into account when reviewing the the remuneration of its senior management, "from the CEO through the relevant chain of command".

"SMRT reiterates its strong stand of having zero tolerance for failures in supervision and diligence over maintenance tasks."

AMNESTY EXTENDED TO STAFF WHO REPORT GAPS

The transport operator added that an amnesty was extended to all staff who voluntarily stepped forward to report gaps in processes. 

The amnesty ended last Friday and SMRT said it is studying "a number of submissions" relating to scheduled maintenance works not being carried out. The submissions were from the Building and Facilities Maintenance group, which is responsible for the Bishan water pump system. 

All other maintenance units have affirmed their compliance with maintenance standards, said SMRT. 

"We will sharpen our performance management processes, further streamline organisational structures and strengthen the line of sight and accountability," SMRT added. 

"We will also enhance the training support for our supervisors so that they are better enabled and empowered to carry out their duties well."

SMRT WORKERS CONCERNED ABOUT PUBLIC PERCEPTION: UNION

In a media statement, the National Transport Workers’ Union (NTWU) said it hopes that SMRT will apply "a balanced approach" in its investigation and disciplinary inquiry, and consider the reasons and circumstances under which work was not carried out properly.

"We also urge SMRT to define clearly and communicate what amnesty means and how it would be administered fairly to allay workers’ concerns on the ground and ensure that workers would not suffer undue stress by the process," said NTWU. 

It added that in its engagement with SMRT workers, many of them have expressed concern about the public's perception of their work and attitudes. 

"NTWU recognises that many workers are working hard day and night to ensure that train operations and maintenance work are carried out properly ... We hope that the public continues to give them support and does not lose trust and confidence in them."

The Land Transport Authority is conducting separate investigations into falsification of maintenance records.

Source: CNA/gs

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