It is unfortunate that the tragic event earlier this week at the construction site in Ramat Hahayal is what finally sparked the discussion about negligence at construction sites in Israel. There have been many warning signs and this conversation should have taken place a long time ago. The Coalition against Construction Accidents – which ACRI is a member of, and is headed by Attorney Hadas Tagari who worked with ACRI for many years – has been warning for months about the systemic failures, but no one was listening.
The statistics are horrifying: 32 people were killed in accidents at construction sites in 2016 alone, and over 480 people (!!) have been killed in such accidents since 2000. If these casualties were victims of terror or of food positioning, a government investigative committee would have been formed long ago. But construction workers, who are mostly Palestinians from the West Bank, Israeli Arabs and migrant workers are invisible. The media barely reports on construction accidents and policy makers disregard them altogether.
The collapse of the building this week is another painful indication of the long-term, multi-system failures in the building industry, including: a total disregard for safety procedures, the fact that only 17 inspectors are responsible for over 13,000 construction sites throughout Israel, lenient treatment of offenses and an absence of deterrents and sanctions imposed on negligent contractors.
A few days after the tragedy in Ramat Hahayal, the issue is already disappearing from the headlines. We must not allow it to fade away. It’s time for government ministers and policy makers to wake up and address the failures in the system. Join the struggle by liking the Coalition Against Construction Accidents’ Facebook page. The Coalition has been operating for a year and has laid the groundwork for the public debate, which is now starting to take place.
Share the Coalition’s updates and calls to action and invite your friends to do the same. Together we will continue working and will not give up until we reach our goal, which should be obvious: to reduce the number of accidents as close as possible to zero, and to make sure that every employee feels respected and valued – because people’s lives are not worthless.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel