Laborer Dies in Israel's 37th Fatal Work Accident of 2019

The man, who was hit by a heavy object, is the 22nd construction worker killed on site since the beginning of the year

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Scene of the accident, Petah Tikva, Israel, June 11, 2019.
Scene of the accident, Petah Tikva, Israel, June 11, 2019. Credit: MDA operations
Lee Yaron
Lee Yaron

A worker was killed on Monday after sustaining a hit by a heavy object while working on a construction site in central Israel.

He is the 22nd construction worker killed on site since the start of the year, and the 37th to die in any kind of work accident.

According to the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry, the man, who was in his 40s, was pouring concrete when part of the funnel through which the concrete pours broke off and hit him. An ambulance took him to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva in critical condition, and he was pronounced dead shortly after he arrived.

>> Read more: Unlicensed crane Operator arrested in Tel Aviv as construction deaths rise ■ Israel’s construction accidents: Not mishaps, but negligence  | Editorial

Police said they are looking into the cause of the accident and have visited the site, which is operated by Omer Construction and Engineering. Labor Ministry inspectors also visited the site and issued a stop-work order for it.

Paramedic Moshe Gelbstein said that when his ambulance arrived, the worker was unconscious, had no pulse and wasn’t breathing, having suffered a serious head injury. The ambulance crew tried to resuscitate him, but ultimately to no avail.

Hadas Tagari, who heads an organization that combats work accidents, said the effectiveness of the Labor Ministry’s occupational safety administration has deteriorated over the past two years because its chief safety inspector has been replaced frequently and improperly. During that same period, the number of fatal work accidents climbed sharply.

A search committee is now looking for another chief inspector, she added, and “it’s impossible to exaggerate the importance of filling this position with a man or woman who is professional, independent and concerned with nothing but the workers’ safety.”

Two weeks ago, Wasim Abu Kef, a 22-year-old from the Negev town of Umm Batin, was killed after falling from a height of seven meters in Ashkelon’s industrial zone. Following an initial police investigation, the factory manager and the contractor hired to do the work were arrested. Police initially investigated them on suspicion of negligent homicide, but are now considering the more serious charge of manslaughter.

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