Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Safety Certified But Not Satisfied

5 tonnes of crushing steel
When Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Teo Chee Hean responded to parliament members who questioned the SAF's safety measures after recent incidents involving reversing army vehicles, Teo didn't exactly provide a wealth of details so that future NSmen can learn from the mishaps and know when to duck. As in avoiding the killer machines, not embarrassing questions.

All DPM Teo would enlighten the house was that the army's Safety System was certified in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS). A system that allows for a Motor Transport Officer to be run over by a Land Rover (July 2009) and then a Lance Corporal to be rear ended by a truck (January 2011). In both accidents only two men were present at the stationary vehicles. Dead men do not provide eye-witness testimony.

What the parliamentarians heard was that the army truck reversed into Lance Corporal Eugin Wee Yong Choon, a Signal Operator who was somehow tasked to unload stores from the back of a military transport. And they were satisfied with that minimalist report. The parliamentarians never bothered to quiz Teo what stores were being delivered that necessitated the requisition of a 5-tonne military vehicle. Assuming the item was larger and heavier than a six-pack of Heinekens, why didn't the driver lend a hand to LCP Wee in the manual discharge of the cargo? The tailgate is a hefty piece of heavy metal. If the army's safety procedures were fundamentally sound as Teo claimed, why didn't the driver switch off the engine and engage the manual brakes before allowing Wee to alight for the unloading operation? Since Second Lieutenant (2LT) Chan was also crushed by a standing vehicle that was supposed to be securely parked, one wonders if the OHSAS covers this aspect of safety. Unlike the downing of the Apache helicopter due to a missing instruction in the maintenance manual, the loss of innocent lives in two similar occurrences apparently did not faze Teo sufficiently to warrant a re-write of the Standard Operation Procedures.

The only logical conclusion to make out of Teo's lackadaisical attitude to the human tragedy is that another round of musical chairs will be played out after the elections. Let the next Defence Minister deal with the crap. The safety lesson here seems to be - 官官相护 (guān guān xiāng hù) - bureaucrats shield each other.


  1. I was a driver during NS, recruits that are(were) consigned to be drivers are special young men. They handle three tonner trucks without having learnt how to handle small vehicle first. It is liked going to university without going through primary, secondary and college. So, in a way NS Drivers maybe handling vehicles beyond their abilities. This poses a danger to others.
    By the way, it is high time for Singaporeans to petition for the abolition of National Service. Time for the state to offer soldiering as an occupation as there are few jobs left for Singaporeans.

  2. It seems the families of those who died in the line of duty never seems to get the real answers as to how their loved ones could have perished in such a simple yet mysterious way. There was also the case of the doctor, which until today, we are still not told truthfully why he had wanted to die.

    Now under the strict regulations of our Work Safety Health Act, employers are held liable and can even be jailed if it is proven that they are negligible and have not provided a safe working environment of any of its employees.

    But how come in such cases Mindef is not held accoutable ? It seems odd that in the first place, there was no actual line of duty to perform but yet they had to die. Even one incident is one too many.

  3. Alam Wong...in SIN Inc...u die yr biz

  4. re why didn't the driver lend a hand in helping the corp unload: lend a hand?! PUH-lease. this is a devout me-first who-cares-about-u country. lending a hand has become so un-singaporean.
    being thoughtful n considerate is to be shunned. and a lot of people are shunning this.

    one has only to look around at the constant rudeness one encounters everywhere, the rubbish left 3 steps from a bin, and of course those 66.6% votes for the PAP at the last election.

    and all this is from singaporeans, Not foreigners.

    manners should be a subject taught in school as parents have forgotten what it is. and if u don't get an A in it, you shldn't be allowed to move on, no matter how many A's you get in other subjects.

  5. I was in the same vocation as the deceased. Its my understanding that the vehicle involved is not the 5-ton shown on the picture. Its a 1.5ton Unimog as reported in the news. This vehicle is not commonly known and is slightly smaller than the 3-tonnes we are used to seeing.

    Anyway, RIP to that guy.

  6. Hello Everybody,
    My name is Mrs Sharon Sim. I live in Singapore and i am a happy woman today? and i told my self that any lender that rescue my family from our poor situation, i will refer any person that is looking for loan to him, he gave me happiness to me and my family, i was in need of a loan of S$250,000.00 to start my life all over as i am a single mother with 3 kids I met this honest and GOD fearing man loan lender that help me with a loan of S$250,000.00 SG. Dollar, he is a GOD fearing man, if you are in need of loan and you will pay back the loan please contact him tell him that is Mrs Sharon, that refer you to him. contact Dr Purva Pius,via email:(urgentloan22@gmail.com) Thank you.


    1. Name Of Applicant in Full:……..
    2. Telephone Numbers:……….
    3. Address and Location:…….
    4. Amount in request………..
    5. Repayment Period:………..
    6. Purpose Of Loan………….
    7. country…………………
    8. phone…………………..
    9. occupation………………
    11.Monthly Income…………..

    Email Kindly Contact: urgentloan22@gmail.com