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Construction worker
Construction worker

The number of fatalities on construction sites grows

Due to lack of safety procedures, lack of manpower, and authority indifference, fatalities among construction workers in Israel has increased from 38 to 43 in 2019, life-saving European safety standards have been previously approved, but as of yet have not been implemented or enforced

Ofer Petersburg |
Updated: 12.02.19 , 22:41
Exactly one year ago, the government promised it would enact laws to ensure workers' safety in construction sites, but due to the government's inaction, the death toll keeps rising.
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  • "As of March 2019, there's simply no legalization or regulations to deal with incidents," said the head of Histadrut, the labor union, Arnon Bar David, who unlike his predecessor, Avi Nissenkorn, would not assume responsibility for the safety of the construction workers. Nissenkorn had signed an agreement with the government a year ago.
    ידיעותידיעות
    Construction worker
    "Most of the problems are due to a lack of government," said Bar David, "even though there's a cut and dry recommendation, there's still no law requiring the installations of safety nets in construction sites."
    According to Bar David, even a media campaign of both the Ministry of Labor and the Union, against the lack of safety measures in construction sites has been put on hold for the last few months.
    Additionally, a commitment was named to ensure only European standard scaffolding will be approved for use in construction sites, compared to the patchwork scaffolding used today.
    מנוף קרס בתל אביבמנוף קרס בתל אביב
    A collapsed crane in Tel Aviv
    According to several contractors though, every attempt to insert better scaffolding to sites has been met with difficulties mounted by the Ministry of Labor, and the Standards Institution of Israel.
    "They're demanding tens of thousands of Shekels for a permit which is already a standard in Europe," says the Chairman of the renovation contractor's union, Eran Siv.
    Last weekend saw the death of Amin Ouda Red'ayda, a 63 years old construction worker who fell from the third floor of a construction site in Jerusalem, making him the 43rd construction worker to die in a work-related accident in 2019.
    אתר הבנייה בקריית מוצקיןאתר הבנייה בקריית מוצקין
    A work accident in Kiryat Motzkin
    (Photo: Israel Police)
    All in all, there's a definite increase in mortality rates due to work-related accidents in construction sites, as in 2018, the mortality number was 38.
    On Thursday, four workers fell from scaffolding all across the country, they were taken to hospital and their condition was reported to range from moderate injuries to critical.
    קשירה לא תקינה וברזל חלוד בסולמות על המנוףקשירה לא תקינה וברזל חלוד בסולמות על המנוף
    A ladder tied with rusty metal
    A 40-year-old man also fell from a scaffold this time in the city of Rehovot on Sunday, his condition was reported to be stable.
    According to the latest safety regulations released by Israel's worker's safety authorities, the responsibility for a worker's well being lays in the hands of all those managing a construction project, including the developer.
    Unfortunately, according to Yitzhak Moyal, the head of the Construction Workers Union, "the main responsibility still falls on the foreman, we tried advancing the subject, but since there's no government, there's no one to hear us."
    תאונת העבודה בחיפהתאונת העבודה בחיפה
    A work accident in Haifa
    (Photo: United Rescue)
    According to the government's agreement with the Labor Union, there's supposed to be 90 inspectors making sure all sites adhere to a certain standard of safety, today though, the number of inspectors stands at 54, with an expectation it will grow to reach 74 soon.
    The Ministry of Labor said in response, "most of the agreement has been fulfilled, such as licenses to operate a crane, increase in inspectors and more, the rest requires a change in legislation and for that, we have to wait for the Knesset committee to convene."

    First published: 22:41 , 12.02.19
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