MRT worker survives 750V electric shock
A RAIL worker survived a 750-volt electrical shock yesterday in what appeared to be another serious safety lapse at SMRT.
In an incident that came just two months after a pair of SMRT trainees were killed by a train while they did maintenance work on a track, a contractor sustained burns while working on a power-supplying third rail.
The incident happened at around 1.50am near Sembawang station.
Like the two dead trainees, the injured man was in his 20s. He was rushed to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in a Singapore Civil Defence Force ambulance.
He has since been discharged after being treated for electrical burns to his left hand.
SMRT spokesman Patrick Nathan said: "Three SMRT staff along with two contractors were on the track by the platform of Sembawang MRT Station to conduct maintenance work during engineering hours.
"One of the contractors was using a third rail gauging bar to measure the height and distance of the third rail from the running rail, to ensure the correct positioning of the third rail which supplies power to the trains.
"While carrying this out, the contractor sustained a burn injury to his left hand."
Mr Nathan said "the necessary approval was given to the team to access the track for the maintenance work".
"Our findings show that the contractor proceeded to an adjacent sector instead, for which prior approval had not been sought and where the traction power had not been switched off," he added.
The incident triggered a circuit breaker at the switch room at Sembawang station which activated a fire alarm.
According to former SMRT employees, there are several layers of protection for workers on the track.
Beyond authorising access, workers must also be told where they can go.
Short circuit devices are also installed, so that in case a third rail is accidentally switched on, workers are not electrocuted by the 750 volts of direct current.
The Land Transport Authority said it would investigate.
On March 22, Nasrulhudin Najumudin, 26, and Muhammad Asyraf Ahmad Buhari, 24, were killed by a train travelling at 60kmh near Pasir Ris MRT Station.
The pair, who had joined SMRT just two months earlier, were part of a team of 15 who were sent to check on a potential equipment flaw.
Last month, SMRT admitted that safety lapses led to the tragic incident.