Cost Prioritized Over Safety
Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min has finally come clean on how OKP Holdings Limited won the Changi Viaduct contract despite being responsible for a fatal accident in 2015.
Despite its low quality rating, OKP managed to obtain the highest price-quality score as it offered the lowest tender price.
Dr Lam explained that Land Transport Authority’s evaluation of OKP’s bid occurred concurrently with the Ministry of Manpower’s investigation into the 2015 accident. He expounded that at that juncture, there was inconclusive evidence to disqualify OKP outright.
However, the incident was taken into account and OKP was given the lowest score for quality.
2015 Accident Was Not Due To Negligent Attitude
When questioned by the House on why OKP’s bizSAFE certificate was not revoked following the 2015 accident, Minister of State for Manpower Sam Tan was quoted saying that “[n]o evidence was found” to suggest that the accident was a result of “a wider systemic failure of the company’s safety management” as Channel NewsAsia reports.
He explained that:
“If a company has encountered a certain work site accident, and the cause of the accident is not because there’s no proper Workplace Safety and Health Standards regime put in place, but because of certain human error or oversight, that is considered as an isolated and not systemic failure.”
Is It A Systemic Failure Now?
Following the 2017 accident, OKP’s poor safety standard must be called into account on a stricter level as this is no longer an isolated incident.
An inquiry should also be made into the investigation made by the Ministry of Manpower given that OKP is populated with ex-Ministers.
Featured image from SCDF