The Industrial Court has been told a company charged over a worker's death at Adelaide's desalination plant construction site will plead guilty to breaching workplace safety laws.
Brett Fritsch, 35, was killed in July 2010 when struck by a steel beam which fell from a crane while being moved in a soft sling.
The company Ferro Con SA later went into liquidation and there was concern a prosecution might not be possible.
Lawyers for the company told the Industrial Court hearing guilty pleas would be entered on behalf of the company and director Paolo Maione at a further hearing in May and the case could proceed to sentencing.
Outside the hearing, lawyer Stephen Dolphin spoke to the media.
"It certainly saves the family and those involved in this tragic event a long, expensive and difficult criminal trial, but we've got two concerns about what's happened today. First, by a simple guilty plea we may not get to the bottom of the tragic events that led to the death of Brett Fritsch," he said.
"Secondly we're told today that the first defendant, the company, is in liquidation.
"Now we question that defendant's capacity to pay any fine or more importantly any order of compensation that the court may make."
Mr Dolphin said Mr Fritsch's widow and other relatives who were present at the proceedings felt at least some small relief.
"They're relieved that they don't have to endure a difficult and hard-fought trial on a not guilty plea but they also share my concerns and the concerns of the CFMEU and the workers on the site that a simple guilty plea may not give us all the answers that we're looking for as to perhaps the inappropriate use of soft slings," he said.
"We'll do whatever we can to get those issues out and one of the issues that the CFMEU will be considering is a Coroner's inquest. I think that's probably the more appropriate vehicle."
Union official Darren Roberts said guilty pleas were part of a wider search for answers.
"We certainly welcome the intent to plead guilty as being noted but we still seek the answers to Brett's tragic death. The answers that we're still seeking is around the use of soft slings and the inappropriate use of soft slings in the industry," he said.
"I don't know if (this outcome) is a step forward, it's certainly a part of the process and the process has an ongoing momentum, but the conclusion that we'll be seeking [relates to] the use of soft slings in the industry."
Mr Roberts said there had been problems with slings elsewhere too.
"Recently there was unfortunately another fatality (in Tasmania) where the use of soft slings, and possibly the inappropriate use of soft slings, was a factor in that death," he said.
"We certainly want the industry to be aware of maybe potential different lifting techniques that can then eliminate the use of these soft slings."
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