3 Construction Workers Killed at Separate Sites

YERUSHALAYIM -

Three construction workers were killed in three separate accidents in Israel on Thursday — in Tel Aviv, Nahariya and Rosh HaAyin, The Times of Israel reported.

The incidents underscore an ongoing issue of worker safety in the construction industry. The rate of worker deaths in Israel is among the highest in the West and double the European Union average, according to the findings of an Economy Ministry and National Insurance Institute report published in May 2016.

The deaths all came within five hours on Thursday.

A 16-year-old laborer was killed when scaffolding collapsed under him and several other others on Silver Street in the northern city of Nahariya. In that incident, a second worker, 29, was hospitalized in serious condition, and a third lightly injured.

Earlier in the day, a 40-year-old man was killed in a fall from a high floor in a construction site in Rosh HaAyin, and another man, 50, was killed when hit by a tractor he was directing at a building site north of Tel Aviv.

In yet a fourth incident on Thursday, a worker suffered an electric shock at a building site in Beitar Illit, and was taken to Yerushalayim’s Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem with burns on his upper body.

According to the Group Against Building Accidents, 21 people have been killed in construction work in Israel so far this year.

After six construction workers were killed last September when a four-story parking garage collapsed in Tel Aviv, there was an outcry for improved safety standards.

Investigations into the problem has been lacking. Only half of all deaths at construction sites between 2011 and 2015 were investigated, according to research carried out by the Knesset Research and Information Center. Most of those files were closed due to inconclusive evidence.

The Knesset report attributed the low rate of investigations to bureaucratic inefficiency. The three relevant agencies — Safety Administration, the State Prosecution and the police — reportedly failed to cooperate in an effective manner.