A worker died Thursday after falling from the roof of a truck-trailer factory in Ashkelon that apparently was not fully licensed.
Zecharia Zandoni, 65, a rabbi at one of the city’s synagogues, stepped on a part of the roof that broke and fell to his death from a height of 10 meters. He was the sixth person to be killed in a work accident this week.
After the incident, the Safety and Health Administration in the Labor and Social Services Ministry demanded an explanation from the city as to why the factory operated without a permit.
Sources said the plant had obtained a three-month permit and did not apply to extend it when it expired. Labor Ministry inspectors last visited the site was about five months ago.
Since the beginning of the month nine people were killed in work accidents, and 37 were killed since the beginning of the year, 20 of them were killed while working on construction sites. Thousands of others were injured in work accidents.
Three of the other five fatal accidents occurred Tuesday. Anas Walid Aluwaga, 28, of Nablus, was killed after being electrocuted at an unsupervised construction site in Petah Tikva. Abdullah Jaber, 24, of Aqraba, fell to his death from scaffolding in Ashkelon. Maher al-Hajj Yusuf, 60, of Tubas died after falling into a sewage pit. On Monday, Shadi Saada Aghbariyya, 33, of Umm al-Fahm died when the roof he was standing on collapsed in Nahariya. On Sunday, Sharif Maaruf Dababseh, 33, of Tarkumiya fell to his death from the eighth floor of a buidling in East Jerusalem, Palestinian news agencies reported.
Hadas Tagari, the director of the advocacy organization Coalition against Construction Accidents, told Haaretz that “fatal and serious accidents of workers falling from rooftops are terribly frequent – and stem from noncompliance with mandatory workplace safety regulations. Again, we demand of the new government and especially the new labor and social services minister to take immediate action to ensure worker safety on building sites and at all workplaces,” she said.
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In a statement, the Ashkelon municipality said the Labor Ministry had issued a temporary permit for the trailer factory, which has applied for but not yet received another permit. “In any case,” the response said, “the Labor Ministry is in charge of looking into the regrettable accident’s circumstances and whether safety regulations had been breached.”