Adelaide superway builder fined over safety risk to motorists
One of the two cars damaged when a pipe fell into peak hour traffic on South Road in Adelaide. (Supplied: Comcare)
Construction company John Holland has been fined $130,000 for putting the lives of two motorists at risk during the building of Adelaide’s South Road “superway”.
In June 2012, a two-metre-long part of a concrete stormwater pipe being installed on the elevated highway broke off and fell 15 metres onto two cars waiting at traffic lights on South Road below.
The pipe weighed around 40 kilograms and smashed the windscreen of one of the cars, but nobody was injured.
Magistrate Paul Foley said a consortium involving the company had installed similar pipes without incident ten times previously, without an adequate risk assessment, and it should have identified the risk to anyone below.
The two-metre, 40 kilogram section of pipe that fell 15 metres from the elevated road on South Road. (Supplied: Comcare)
The company pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to ensure the health and safety of others around a worksite.
“The defendant … had a statutory responsibility to ensure, so far as practicable, that the safety of others was not put at risk,” Mr Foley said.
“Its audit procedure did not pick up that the risk associated with installing piping above a public road had not been identified in … [a] risk assessment.”
The Commonwealth workplace safety agency Comcare prosecuted the case.
Its chief executive Jennifer Taylor said the outcome shows that unsafe work practices will be punished.
“It does send quite a strong message to employers, sub contractors and contractors about the need to ensure they are providing healthy and safe workplaces, not only for their employees, but for the public as well,” she said.
“These were identifiable risks, they should have had measures in place that prevented this occurrence happening.”
Pipe fall one of two incidents during project
The John Holland incident is not the only safety problem the project has faced.
Also in 2012, a man nearly died when his head was crushed between a lifting arm and a welding table at the construction site.
The Industrial Court convicted and fined Queensland-based company Fix Force $150,000 for failing to maintain a safe workplace.
Magistrate Stephen Lieschke said it had been a catastrophic safety failure.
The 4.8 kilometre-long elevated roadway was opened in 2014 as one of a number of measures to provide a more efficient north-south road corridor through Adelaide.