Laborer Dies in Israel's 21st Fatal Work Accident of 2019

Work accident fatalities stood at 18 at the same point a year prior ■ Activists say government failing to address problem

File photo: A construction site in the settlement of Efrat, March 2019.
Emil Salman

A 40-year-old laborer injured in a Kfar Saba work accident on Thursday died on Sunday of his injuries.

He was the 21st worker to die in a work accident this year, compared to 18 in the equivalent period of 2018.

The man was hurt when a pile of wooden boards fell on him in the RAM Oranim carpentry, which is managed by his father. He was evacuated to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, where he later died.

A Labor Ministry inspector has launched an inquiry into the accident.

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On Sunday, there were two accidents on construction sites that ended in injuries. The first involved a laborer who fell from a height of three stories at a construction site on Ein Dor Street in Haifa. He suffered moderate head injuries. The second, half an hour later, took place at a building site on Hafetz Haim Street in Ra’anana, where a laborer from Hebron fell from a height of three meters and sustained a moderate head injury.

The worker in Kfar Saba was the eleventh to die in the manufacturing, commerce, services or agriculture industries, compared to seven in such fatalities in the same period last year.

“This worrisome trend points to deteriorating worker safety in fields other than construction, alongside the continued high rate of casualties in the construction field,” said Hadas Tagari, director of the Group Battling Construction and Industrial Accidents. “We expect that the government ministries that were functionally paralyzed in recent months will go back to work and advance measures to improve worker safety that have been neglected.”

According to Israel Assal, legal adviser of the Forum for Preventing Work accidents, the police’s Peles unit that was established to investigate work accidents hasn’t probed all of them.

“A policy of zero deterrence and under-enforcement against manufacturers and building contractors is essentially leading to the continued killing of workers, who are paying with their lives and health,” he said.