Not a week goes by without reports of one, and often two, construction workers falling to their death or sustaining serious injury at a building site in Israel – but somehow the government cannot find more than a million and a half shekels to provide site safety supervisors. According to official figures, there are 184 construction supervisors in Israel, responsible for over 12,000 building sites – meaning that each one is responsible for over 700 sites each.
The situation is as bad now as it was when the State Comptroller issued a scathing report on the state’s massive failure in ensuring minimal safety standards at construction sites, said MK Karine Elharar (Yesh Atid) at a joint meeting of the Knesset State Control and Welfare Committees to discuss progress on improving based on the findings of that report.
The problem is that there was no progress – at all, said Elharar. “There are thousands of cranes in Israel, and 20 inspectors to ensure that they are safe. Several years ago we opened a state-sponsored site inspection course, but it was not very popular.” Another course will be opening in September, she said.
It has been a decade since a contractor was shut down due to safety issues, she said. “Prosecutions do not take place over safety issues. We must do everything possible so that workers can confidently go to their jobs and be assured they will be able to come home alive.”