'Far Worse Than Last Year': Laborer Dies in Israel's 38th Fatal Work Accident in 2019

'We are only at the start of the hellish season for accidents,' warns workers' rights campaigner, lamenting rise in deaths for second year in a row

The building from which the worker fell, in Haifa, on Tuesday, June 11, 2019.
Ido Soroka, MDA Spokesperson

A worker was killed Tuesday when he fell six stories from an office building in Haifa, where he was installing windows. This was the 38th work-related death this year.

Police have launched an investigation into the circumstances of the accident, which occurred on Tshernichovksy Street. Earlier on Tuesday, a 49-year-old worker fell from a height of four stories on the city’s Allenby Street.

Paramedics evacuated him to Rambam Medical Center in moderate condition.

On Monday a worker of about 40 was killed when a heavy object hit him at a building site in Petah Tikva. According to the Labor Ministry, while concrete was being poured part of the cement pump sleeve disconnected and hit the worker. The building site, run by Omer Engineering, was closed by Labor Ministry order. 

>> Israel's labor ministry must act on rising death toll at construction sites | Editorial

“Not only is the number of work accidents since the start of the year rising sharply compared to the same period last year, but this is the second year in a row that there’s been such a rise – and we are only at the start of the hellish season for fatal accidents, which peaks in August,” said Dr. Hadas Tagari, director of the Coalition Against Construction and Industrial Accidents.

“For the past few months the work of government ministries has been frozen, and this is expected to continue for the next few months because of the repeat election. Only the accidents continue unabated throughout the country.”

Israel Assal, legal adviser of the Forum for Preventing Work Accidents, said : "Despite the blood being spilled we don’t see yet how [Labor] Minister Haim Katz and his ministry are making an effort to prevent the next accident. It’s about time for the ministry inspectors to go out into the field and enforce work safety laws. Even with 18 inspectors for 15,000 construction sites, there can be hundreds of indictments filed against violators that will convey a clear message to contractors that workers lives are not forfeit.”