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John Holland fined over crane accident (Media release)

29 May 2017

John Holland has been fined $281,250 over an incident in which a worker narrowly escaped being crushed at an Adelaide construction site.

Magistrate Paul Bennett handed down the penalty in the Adelaide Magistrates Court today, convicting the construction company of three counts of failing in its duties under the Commonwealth Work Health and Safety Act.

John Holland Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to the charges in March following an investigation by Comcare, the federal work health and safety regulator. The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

Comcare Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Taylor said John Holland failed to take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employees, or provide a safe system of work for the job.

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

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

The incident happened on 26 July 2013 at Adelaide’s South Road Superway project, with a labour hire worker contracted to John Holland suffering leg and back injuries.

Staff were working under lights at a yard where sections of road bridge were being loaded onto trucks using two large portal cranes. One of the cranes collided with an elevated work platform, pushing the platform’s basket under the adjacent crane.

The worker operating the platform tried to jump out as the basket started to buckle around him, but the lanyard of his harness held him in. He managed to lean out of the basket and avoid being crushed, and thankfully the crane was stopped in time.

Today’s penalty is the second against John Holland over work health and safety failures at the South Road project. In 2016 the company was convicted and fined $130,000 over a 2012 incident in which a large pipe snapped and fell from the road bridge into peak hour traffic.

A photograph of the damaged work platform is available on request.

Media contact:
0478 305 675

Page last reviewed: 15 December 2019
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Date printed 29 Jun 2022