The Grafton bypass from Glenugie to Tyndale is expected to cut 20 minutes off the journey along the Pacific Highway when it is opened to traffic in 2020.
The Grafton bypass from Glenugie to Tyndale is expected to cut 20 minutes off the journey along the Pacific Highway when it is opened to traffic in 2020. RMS

18yo crushed in 'freak accident' on highway work site

IN WHAT has been described as a freak accident, an 18-year-old construction worker has had surgery on his legs after a precast concrete wall, designed for the edge of a bridge, pinned him to the ground on part of the Pacific Highway upgrade.

The parapet wall, which weighs at least four tonnes, began to act like a see-saw when the male sat on the wall. It then flipped and pinned him down just after 8am on Tuesday.

He suffered a compound fracture to his lower right leg and a fracture to his left foot, according to NSW Ambulance media.

Dean Riley from the CFMEU, who investigated the incident, said it occurred at the Pacific Complete highway construction site on Byron's Lane, Tyndale.

"It's top heavy and as it rolled over it pinned him to the ground," he said. "It's a freak accident, (but at the same time) the company hasn't been storing parapet walls correctly.

"They had to move the crane (on site) to get it off his legs.

"There should be a system in place for storing them and they've just been laying them on the ground."

Mr Riley said there has been prohibition notices put on the site.

"They cannot restart work until they've got safety measures in place to make sure this doesn't happen again," he said.

Mr Riley added this was an extremely sad thing to happen to someone so young.

"He's a young soccer player who comes from Iluka, he was supposed to play his final on the weekend," he said.

"This is something very sad and very tragic to happen to a young kid. It's his first year in construction ... measures need to be put in place to stop this from happening in the future."

The Mid-North Coast Local Health District has confirmed the 18-year-old is in a stable condition.

An NSW Ambulance Media representative said the man was conscious and breathing when emergency teams arrived on scene.

A Roads and Maritime representative said the work stopped on site on Tuesday while an investigation occurred.

"Roads and Maritime Services is cooperating with SafeWork NSW and other government agencies on the incident," they said.

"Roads and Maritime is working with the contractor to ensure the worker has all necessary support."



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