Death Toll in 2018 Construction Accidents Climbs to 19 as Worker Dies

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The site where 40-year-old laborer Ataf Kabha was killed on Monday, June 25, 2018
The site where 40-year-old laborer Ataf Kabha was killed on Monday, June 25, 2018Credit: MDA Spokesperson

A 40-year-old laborer, Ataf Kabha, was killed on Monday when he fell from a height of three stories at a construction site in Harish. He is the 19th person to be killed in a construction accident this year.

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At the end of last week another construction worker, Jamal Hani Amer Aliat, 23, from the village of Deir Abu Daf, near Jenin, was killed when he fell into an elevator shaft at the Kiryat Belz project being built by the Amiron Company in the Har Yona neighborhood of Nazareth Illit. The Labor Ministry stopped work at the site for 48 hours after the incident.

A list of safety warnings published last year by the Occupational Safety Administration shows that in both October and November 2017, that same site in Nazareth Illit was cited for safety violations. In November a serious accident took place at another Amiron site in the city, in which a 40-year-old worker fell from a height of several meters and was seriously injured.

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Hadas Tagari, director of the Group Struggling Against Construction Accidents, said in a statement, “The Labor and Social Affairs Ministry undertook to increase its deterrence with the introduction of the regulations that allow for administrative fines for safety violations (financial sanctions). But although almost six months have elapsed since that date, not a single sanction has been issued despite the obligation by law to do so".

“The Israel Police and the Public Security Ministry have not yet announced when the Special Investigations Unit for work accidents will begin operating, and the state authorities are still failing to promote a coordinated policy of increasing deterrence and enforcement at construction sites. Workers are still being hurt,” the statement concluded.