SINGAPORE: An SMRT staff member died on Monday (Mar 23) after sustaining "severe injuries" while working at Bishan Depot.
Group Chief Executive Officer Neo Kian Hong said Technical Officer Muhammad Afiq Senawi had been working in a Rolling Stock workshop and was operating a hydraulic press machine when the accident occurred at about 9.20am.
"First-aid was immediately rendered. He was then conveyed to the hospital. Unfortunately, he succumbed to his injuries and passed away at the hospital at about 11.20am.
"We have conveyed our deepest condolences to his family and are rendering support and assistance at this very difficult time," Mr Neo added.
SMRT said that it is assisting the Land Transport Authority, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the police with the investigations.
The transport operator has called a safety time-out and suspended all similar maintenance works while investigations are ongoing.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said that it was "deeply saddened" by the incident, and said that it is working with MOM and the police in their investigations.
It added that a safety timeout and suspension of all similar maintenance works have been imposed at all SMRT depots so that work processes can be thoroughly reviewed.
LTA said that it would also work with SMRT to extend any necessary assistance to the worker's family.
According to the SMRT website, its Rolling Stock Depot and Rolling Stock Workshop are where staff members perform maintenance and inspection tasks on trains and components respectively.
In a Facebook post, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said the death of 30-year-old Mr Muhammad Afiq, who had been with SMRT for two years, was a loss to the OneTransport family and his colleagues.
"A sad industrial accident at Bishan Depot this morning. Most unfortunate and unnecessary ... Safety is always and continues to be our priority. Our hearts are with Afiq’s family, and SMRT has told me it will do all it can to support the family through this difficult period," he added.
The National Transport Workers' Union said in a statement that it is "deeply saddened" by Mr Muhammad Afiq's death.
The union's executive secretary Melvin Yong said they are in touch with his family to render the necessary assistance and support.
"Safety at the workplace is of paramount importance to our workers and the union will be working closely with SMRT and the relevant agencies to investigate what happened, and to review the current safety measures and safety protocols in place at the train depot," he added.
This is not the first time an SMRT worker has died as the result of a workplace accident.
In 2016, two SMRT workers were killed by an oncoming train between Pasir Ris and Tampines stations. They were part of a 15-man team sent to check on a track fault about 190m away from Pasir Ris station.
SMRT Trains was fined a record S$400,000 in February 2017 for the safety lapse.
In Dec 2018, an SMRT worker who was carrying out maintenance work near Joo Koon station suffered foot injuries, and later had to have the lower part of his right leg amputated.
According to the Workplace Safety and Health 2019 report, workplace fatalities last year fell to the lowest since 2004, but the rate of injuries climbed to a five-year high.
There were 39 fatalities last year, or 1.1 deaths for every 100,000 workers, a dip from 41 fatalities and a rate of 1.2 in 2018.
Collapse or failure of structure and equipment, vehicular-related incidents and falls from height dominated the top three causes of fatal injuries, with seven cases in each category.