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Oral Answer by Mr Sam Tan, Minister of State for Manpower to Parliamentary Question on Safety Inspections on MRT


MP: Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong

To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) how does the Ministry determine the frequency of its safety inspections of MRT train operators; (b) what is the expected scope of such safety inspections; (c) whether the Ministry conducts surprise safety inspections on train operators and, if so, where can the results of such inspections be found.


  1. To foster safe workplaces, employers and workplace occupiers must take full ownership of occupational safety and health standards and take reasonably practicable measures to ensure the safety and health of the workers. This is enforced under the Workplace Safety and Health Act.
  2. To ensure compliance and uncover unsafe practices for better deterrence, MOM conducts about 16,000 inspections every year. However, due to the large number of workplaces to inspect, MOM takes a targeted, risk-based approach in our inspection regime. We focus our inspections on workplaces with higher risk activities, greater safety concerns, and the types of workplaces that have higher number of injuries. In short, more inspections are conducted for higher risk activities and fewer inspections for lower risk activities.
  3. The vast majority of MOM’s inspections are surprise inspections. However, for some inspections such as MRT track operations and depots, inspections have to be pre-arranged. This is to avoid disruption to train operations during commuting hours as well as the need to obtain security clearance to enter the train depots and track areas safely.
  4. A typical MOM inspection consist of 3 step procedure: a) a site walk-through to assess the safety and health conditions of the workplace, b) discussion with supervisors and workers on our observations, as well as c) review of the company’s key safety procedures. An inspection report of any identified safety lapses will be shared with the company for remedial actions to be taken. Depending on the severity, we may issue Notices of Non-Compliances, Composition Fines or a Stop Work Order.
  5. Findings and learning points from inspections are shared with industry stakeholders while preserving the confidentiality of the inspected companies. The sharing of the learning points is to create greater awareness and to enable more companies to adopt safer workplace practices to improve workplace health and safety conditions.