Palestinian Laborer Dies From Accident While Installing Solar Panels at Kibbutz

In 2019, 86 workers died in accidents in Israel, the highest number since 1997

Lee Yaron
Lee Yaron
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A solar panel is installed on a roof in Sacramento, California.
A solar panel is installed on a roof in Sacramento, California.Credit: Rich Pedroncelli,AP
Lee Yaron
Lee Yaron

A 30-year-old Palestinian laborer died over the weekend from injuries he sustained two weeks ago in an accident at Kibbutz Yad Mordechai.

Saker Sa’adi Awad, from the town of Idna in the Hebron area, was critically injured when he fell from a rooftop while installing solar panels. He died at Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva, raising the number of workplace fatalities from the beginning of the year to seven.

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The number of lethal accidents in industrial and commercial projects rose from 18 in 2017 to 39 in 2018. At least two other workers were killed and another injured last year while doing similar work. This work is not defined by the Ministry of Labor as construction work, and there is little supervision on such installations.

Hadas Tagari, head of the Struggle against Construction and Industrial Accidents group, said, “Saker Awad’s death joins a long list of workers killed or seriously injured during the installation of solar panels on steep and fragile rooftops on agricultural and industrial buildings. Working on these requires extra care in abiding by safety regulations. We demand that the Labor Ministry enforce regulatory and supervisory steps to monitor this work in order to stop this trend.”

According to an annual report composed by the Kav LaOved – Workers Hotline non-profit group, 86 workers died in accidents in 2019. This is the highest number since 1997, and a 23 percent increase over 2018. Overall, there were 420 accidents in which 352 people were injured, including 197 who were moderately or seriously injured.

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