Israeli Building Firms Cited for Safety Violations but Few Are Penalized

Despite 850 citations issued, only three companies have actually been penalized this year

Workers on scaffolding at a construction site in Efrat, June 16, 2019.
Emil Salman

Government inspectors have issued 850 citations for safety violations at construction sites over the last half year, and around 150 contractors have been served with two or more such citations.

But despite the multiple citations, only three companies have actually been penalized this year, according to a semiannual report released by the Kav LaOved workers’ rights organization on Sunday.

The company with the most citations for safety violations so far this year is Asum, with 14 in the last six months. Other companies with multiple offenses include Neot Shamir with 11 citations, A.D. Asher Zagury with nine, Mahamid Tawfik and I. Stern & Co. with eight each, and the Ashtrom group with seven.

In a first, the Labor Ministry’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration began publishing all such citations on its website this year.

In another first, the registrar of contractors revoked the licenses of two contractors with multiple safety violations this year. Over the previous decade, both the registrar and the Housing and Construction Ministry refused to impose any penalties on repeat offenders, even when workers were injured or killed at their sites.

But revoking two licenses “still falls far short of what is needed,” given the growing death toll at construction sites, Kav LaOved’s report said. So far this year, 24 construction workers have been killed and about 100 severely or moderately injured.