When I was serving the country as a soldier, I served in Control of Personnel Centre. During my stint, I received awards for productivity and process improvements signed by the then Chief of Army and also Dr Yeo Ning Hong.
Now I am serving as a Practising Management Consultant certified by a Board closely related to the government. My job concerns the design of management and operations systems for companies. The principles of business management & designing operating procedures for these tanks are the same.
When I am looking at the design of the Self-Propelled Howitzer, I would tell you that the design is inherently dangerous and no amount of SOP design / redesign is going to change the fact that this is a dangerous vehicle.
1) In the press conference, one officer mentioned that CFC Pang could not get away in time. That is nonsense, that space should not be occupied at any point of time. Given that all the potential movement of the turret would crush anyone who is there, that space should be blocked off and only to be accessed (if ever) during repairs.
2) I remember some officer mentioned that "usually most people would not have problem". That is one sure way of pointing the blame at CFC Pang. That is nonsense.
I was not trained to be operating the Howitzer gun, so let me just exercise my commonsense a bit. Did the tank even take into account of the recoil effect when the turret is firing? To take into account of the recoil effect all the space behind the turret cannot be used at all and access blocked off saved for maintenance purposes.
3) One officer even mentioned that there is a procedure to sound an alarm or informing when the turret is moving. This is again nonsense, if CFC Pang is repairing the turret, he must be the one who can decide when the machine can be used.
A few of my peers who are in workplace safety has mentioned this practice known as LOTO (Lock out tag out) system, in which no officer of any rank should be able to override to operate the machine when there is a soldier repairing the machine.
The design of the turret is from ground up, wrong, and let's not mince words. When the design of the system is wrong, no amount of SOP nonsense would be able to compensate for an inherently dangerous design.
All management consultants would be schooled in Deming Principle - when there is an operational problem, 94% of the time you can find fault with the systems and only 6% of the time the error is human.
Just basing on prima facie analysis of the design of the system, I am sorry the fault is with the design, so the fault is with the designer of the system and if the system is not locally designed the fault is with the person approving the purchase of this system.
Do not let SAF explain their way out of this. I am very infuriated by the press conference they have conducted. While they expressed their condolences, they did not take full responsibility for this.
All the other accidents I can explain away with logic and probability (like allergy to smoke bombs and stuff). This is totally avoidable and I want to see Singapore Armed Forces take full responsibility in this.
There is no way I can logically explain this away.