Malaysian cabin crew sues Singapore Airlines for RM5.9 million

SINGAPORE: A former Singapore Airlines (SIA) cabin crew member is seeking compensation of over S$1.7 million (RM5.9 million) from the company, claiming that he slipped on a grease patch and fell while on one of SIA's aircraft.

Durairaj Santiran, 36, was on duty on an A350 aircraft during a 17-hour flight from San Francisco to Singapore, scheduled to land at its destination on the evening of Sept 6, 2019.

Singapore's The Straits Times reported that Durairaj alleges his former employer was negligent in allowing the workplace to become an unsafe area.

Durairaj stated that he noticed a grease spot on the floor of the economy-class kitchen during the flight.

The Malaysian national claimed that about two and a half hours before landing, he slipped on the greased patch and fell backwards, hitting his head on the floor.

He also claimed to suffer from a spinal injury as a result, rendering him medically unfit to continue working as a flight attendant.

Durairaj, who worked at SIA from April 2016 to April 2021, is now employed as a customer care analyst in Malaysia.

His compensation claim includes S$1.29 million (approximately RM4.6 million) for future loss of income, S$30,000 (approximately RM106,174) for loss of earning capacity, and S$150,000 (approximately RM531,070) for future medical and transportation expenses.

His claim alleges that SIA failed to ensure the aircraft floor was free from any material that could cause him to slip and failed to ensure the presence of a cleaning system to ensure the floor's safety.

His lawyers, Ramasamy Chettiar and Kasturibai Manickam argued in their opening statement that the kitchen floor was slippery and therefore unsafe.

They claimed the national airline failed to provide a safe working system and place, and failed to adequately address the presence of the grease spot, thereby making the area unsafe.

Based on Durairaj's statement, before the incident, he was patrolling the aircraft after the cleaning crew left, noticing the grease marks on the kitchen floor near the oven.

He then informed the superior officer about the grease spot before the flight took off and was instructed to remove the grease spot with a cleaning spray and paper towels.

At that time, the aircraft door was closed, and Durairaj attempted to remove the grease spot but was unable to do so.

He informed the same superior officer, who advised him and other cabin crew members to be cautious of the spot.

The superior mentioned that he would raise the issue in the cabin defect log.

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