A leading Australian construction company has been fined $281,250 after a worker narrowly escaped being crushed at an Adelaide construction site.

John Holland Pty Ltd was convicted on three counts of failing in its duties under the Commonwealth Work Health and Safety Act in Adelaide Magistrates Court on Monday.

The company pleaded guilty to the charges in March over the July 26, 2013 incident at the multimillion-dollar South Road Superway project.

In a statement on Monday, the federal work health and safety regulator Comcare says employees were working under lights at a yard where sections of a road bridge were being loaded on to trucks using two large portal cranes.
But a crane collided with an elevated work platform and pushed the platform’s basket under the adjacent crane.

A labour hire worker contracted to John Holland was operating the work platform and tried to jump out as the basket started to buckle around him but his harness lanyard held him in, Comcare says.
The worker managed to lean out of the basket with the crane stopping in the nick of time and the man escaping being crushed. He suffered leg and back injuries.

Comcare chief executive Jennifer Taylor said the company failed to take all “reasonably practicable steps” to ensure safety.

“This was an accident waiting to happen, with inadequate communication and isolation measures in place and shortfalls in supervision, instruction and training,” Ms Taylor states.

“It was only through quick thinking and a degree of luck that the worker was not seriously injured or killed.”

This was the company’s second conviction over the South Road project. It was also convicted and fined $130,000 last year over a 2012 incident, where a large pipe snapped and fell from the road bridge into peak hour traffic.