Thursday, December 31, 2015

Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) training deaths in 2015

Two Armed Forces (SAF) personnel died in the line of duty in 2015 - same as the number reported for 2014 - according to statements from Singapore's Ministry of Defence (MINDEF).

MINDEF/SAF continue to drive home the Safety First message among sailors, soldiers and airmen. As new cohorts of mainly teenaged full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) are inducted into the SAF every year, this effort must be a sustained push as even a momentary lapse may result in a tragedy.

In a tiny city-state like Singapore where almost every household has had a family member serve the SAF, and in a society where the high urban density and highly-networked society amplifies news, every loss is keenly felt.

That said, the all-out effort to improve training safety is noteworthy. 

In 2009, when 10 SAF deaths were logged, the MINDEF/SAF have jointly invested immense efforts at improving training safety. This saw a dramatic slide in fatalities in 2010, which saw the SAF end the year with zero fatalities.

In 2011,  the SAF reported three fatalities.

In 2012, the number doubled to six deaths.

In 2013, the SAF reported one death, though at least five instances of near misses took place in 2013. These include servicemen who were hospitalised due to cardiac arrest, some 300 suspected Norovirus cases at the Basic Military Training Centre on Pulau Tekong and an incident involving a Republic of Singapore Air Force pilot who was involved in a hard landing in a United States Navy T-45C Goshawk trainer in Florida.

Every fatality is one too many.

For 2016, let's all resolve to make our workplace a safe one.

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