It doesn't work "sometimes", it works pretty much always. People are just being sloppy when they say "salt kills the yeast".
Certain levels of salt inhibit the yeast, so that it multiplies less, or slower. If you have an old or improperly stored package of yeast, or you are working with a strain which is not very resilient, then the negative effect may be enough that you don't get a healthy growth process established, and the dough doesn't rise at all. But it is a matter of probabilities, not of certainty.
So there is no reason for a recipe with a direct exposure of yeast to high salt concentration to not work, especially with today's modern, carefully engineered yeast supply. It just has a higher chance of failing when compared to recipes where the salt is added at a different step.
The recipe you linked is also not in any way critical. There you disperse both the dry yeast and the salt with the flour, and by the time you have added the wet ingredients and the yeast wakes up, the salt concentration is as low as it is ever going to be. The finicky recipes are the ones which ask you to bloom the yeast with a teaspoon of salt and teaspoon of sugar in a small amount of water, for example, or prescribe a different high-salt preferment method.