What you need to know about maintaining our train system…

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Just this morning, a contractor suffered a burn injury to his hand while carrying out maintenance works at Sembawang MRT station.

Not too long ago, two SMRT workers lost their lives during a track incident on 22 March 2016.

Of course, accidents happen. But there is a need to prevent such tragedies and incidents from happening.

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Singaporeans know that rail maintenance work is carried out in the wee hours of the morning when trains are not in service, and the rest of Singapore in slumber land.

Coupled with a short time window for them to carry out maintenance work, their jobs are really not easy.

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This is also one reason why retaining newer maintenance crew is more difficult than attracting them. This is according to National Transport Workers’ Union’s Executive Secretary Melvin Yong who blogged about his observations made from visits to various train depots and tracks to interact with the maintenance crew.

He said newer rail maintenance crew often are “unable to acclimatise to the stressful and fast-paced work environment”.

“The lean manpower situation doesn’t do retention efforts any favour too,” he said.

But he said the introduction of the Progressive Wage Model for rail workers by SMRT is a good initiative as it helps attract potential jobseekers. “The upcoming Singapore Rail Academy will also play a key role in professionalising our rail industry and workers.

Granted, there are too many incidents of train disruptions in the last few years. But surely, we can acknowledge the fact that rail maintenance crews, who work behind the scenes while most of us are asleep, are doing their utmost best in ensuring a smooth journey for us every morning.

After all, they only have a tight schedule of carrying out works between 1.00am to 4.30am.

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Image Credits: mothership.sg, Straits Times, labourbeat.org.

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Arthur Lee

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