Construction Worker Dies, Israel's 28th On-the-job Death of 2018

Death toll at construction sites is higher than in the same period in 2017

File photo: Construction work in Tel Aviv, 2018.
Moti Milrod

A construction worker who was seriously injured last week when he was electrocuted at a construction site in the north died on Tuesday of his injuries. Police have opened an investigation into the death, along with inspectors from the safety administration in the Labor Ministry.

Wasim Awad Fayyad Mahameed, 28, from the town of Zalafa in the Wadi Ara region, was electrocuted in Moshav Talmei Eliezer on Thursday. He was hospitalized in Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera in critical condition. The Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Ministry said he was electrocuted while pouring concrete for the fence of a private home when the cement mixer hit a power line.

On Monday, three construction workers were killed in two separate incidents and a number of nonlethal work accidents occurred. The number of workers killed in building-site accidents so far this year, 28, is nearly 50 percent higher than that during the same period of 2017.

“Construction workers are paying the price of the negligence in the construction industry and now we are burying the 28th worker who was killed since the beginning of 2018, after he fought for his life for almost a week due to his injuries,” said Reuven Ben Shimon, founder of the Forum for the Prevention of Work Accidents.

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Ben Shimon called on the Histadrut labor federation to declare an official labor dispute in the construction industry and take action, including going on strike, until the government takes the necessary steps to eradicate such work accidents.

“As the number of incidents grows and the calls for action are voiced more forcefully, the regulators come out with aggressive declarations and promise the imposition of large fines, the adoption of European safety standards for scaffolding and a root canal treatment of the phenomenon,” said Kav La’Oved – Worker’s Hotline for the Protection of Worker’s Rights. But these statements are not implemented and the government is ignoring its responsibilities, said the organization.