Two Palestinian Workers Fall to Their Deaths at Construction Site Near Tel Aviv

The men, both in their 30s and from the West Bank, fell from scaffolding that broke loose from the 15th floor of a building under construction

The construction site in Rosh Ha'ayin where two workmen fell to their deaths.
Bar Peleg

Three construction workers fell to their deaths Monday at two different construction sites, one in Rosh Ha’ayin and one in Lod. 

In Rosh Ha’ayin, two workers fell from a hanging scaffold that broke loose on the 15th floor of a building under construction. A third man was injured in the accident. The two dead were Palestinians in their 30s from the West Bank.

In Lod, a Chinese worker, 35, died when he fell from a height of four stories at a building site in the Ahisamah neighborhood. A volunteer from the Hatzalah rescue service said the worker fell from a scaffold while doing plaster work. 

Their deaths bring the death toll at Israeli construction sites to 27 since the beginning of the year, a 53 percent increase compared to the same period in 2017.

The Rosh Ha’ayin site is operated by Electra Construction. Monday's two deaths bring to 11 the number of people killed on this company's sites in the past three years. In addition to the two fatalities on Monday, they include six killed on sites where Electra was the contractor and three where it was the developer. In a statement following Monday's accident, the company expressed "deep sorrow" over the deaths of the two laborers, adding that the case is under investigation.

Reuven Ben Shimon, who founded the Forum for the Prevention of Workplace Accidents, said 70 percent of those sustaining moderate to fatal injuries did so in falls from a height. "Contractors don't pay a personal or economic price, and we will therefore continue to count and bury the invisible workers falling to their deaths on the altar of luxury buildings and due to the continued impunity in the construction industry," he said. For his part, Zionist Union Knesset member Eyal Ben-Reuven called for new regulation on high-rise construction safety.

The Labor Ministry issued a statement noting that police, with support from the ministry, have opened an investigation over the Rosh Ha'ayin accident, and that the construction site has been temporarily shut down. The Labor Ministry added: "We call on contractors to take responsibility and to take care of their laborer's lives."