The Safety and Systems Review Directorate (SSRD) was formed to oversee the conduct of safety and systems reviews for the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). SSRD set up the first External Review Panel on SAF Safety (ERPSS) in 2013 to review various aspects of SAF safety over its three-year tenure. During this period, the Panel visited 14 SAF formations, units and exercises to observe their safety practices and recommend improvements. The first Panel was headed by Mr Alan Chan, then-Chief Executive Officer of Singapore Press Holdings, and supported by nine prominent safety experts and professionals from outside the SAF.
The second ERPSS was inaugurated on 27 July 2017, and comprises nine safety experts and professionals from a variety of professional backgrounds and experiences. The Panel is headed by Mr Heng Chiang Gnee, Director, MMA Offshore Ltd, who was also Chairman of the Workplace Safety and Health Council from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2018.
The role of the Panel is to review the SAF's safety management systems over the course of its three year tenure. The Panel has been briefed in detail on the SAF and Army safety management systems and has visited the Basic Military Training Centre in Pulau Tekong, the Armour Formation and the Island Defence Task Force thus far. The Panel will be visiting the SAF Medical Corps and the Air Force Training Command in the second half of 2018.
Following visits to the SAF's units, Mr Heng shared that the ground visits allowed the Panel to see varied systems in the SAF, and to provide views on the existing safety systems, as well as opportunities for improvement. He was pleased to note that suggestions from the first ERPSS had been implemented in the SAF's safety system. He also noted that the Panel was of the view that the SAF has put in place sound safety management systems which are aligned to the recognised standards such as OHSAS 18001 and industry best practices.
Mr Heng added that the Panel is supportive of MINDEF's desire for ERPSS to play a larger role in supporting Committees of Inquiry (COIs), and reviewing and providing written public reports on COI findings. Given that the panel was already being kept updated on the findings from all major SAF accidents, it would be a natural extension for it to play an active role in this process.
The 9-member panel comprises of the following:
*Members from the first ERPSS