Hong Kong MTR

MTR rail link scandal reveals total quality control failure, and finding the guilty is no ‘witch-hunt’

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 July, 2018, 9:02pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 July, 2018, 9:02pm

Your correspondent, Peter Lok, writes that frontline “inspectors cannot be expected to have watched over each and every one of the screwing-on operations for the 5,000 bars” that may be part of the MTR/Leighton fiasco (“Witch-hunt not the way to the whole truth on MTR steel bars”, June 27).

Mr Lok’s opinion, if followed in practice, exposes the management failings of all parties to the specific works activity. Coupling of reinforcement bars is not an activity that many frontline inspectors – nor management officials – have had practical experience of; witness the MTR senior manager’s laughable demonstration on the TV newscast.

The media constantly refers to the safety aspect or the lack of it, when the real issue is the total failure to implement “quality control”.

There are no more critical items in the fixing of reinforcement than that of welding and coupling – so important that the project quality documentation would have them noted as “special activities” – requiring the highest level of monitoring by experienced senior inspection or engineering staff.

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Mr Lok writes that it is of no benefit to pursue the search for culpability of frontline inspection staff. My own view is that the failure to implement the contractual requirements of the coupling activity may well be the tip of the iceberg.

Is the quality system documentation able to provide the compliance records of the very source (mill certificates) and testing of all the reinforcement on site?

If failure does exist, the guilty persons at every level must be found – and sanctioned – and the inspection and test plans shall bear their signatures, or not!

John Charleston, Tuen Mun