Part of a crane collapsed today on a residential project construction site on Jabotinsky Boulevard in Yavne. Initial reports said that the accident resulted from the collapse of a crane installed on the site. Four workers were killed in the incident and two more were injured.
Magen David Adom paramedic Alon Malma said, "It is a large construction site with two residential buildings and a crane in the middle. The rear part of the crane came apart and fell on the ground. Three workers nearby sustained very serious injuries all over their bodies. We performed medical examinations in rescuing them, but there were no signs of life; all we could do was pronounce them dead. Another worker who was trapped on the crane when he was tens of meters in the air is being rescued right now by fire-fighters called to the site." Another fatality was later reported.
The police said, "Israel Police received a report that a crane had collapsed in the industrial region on Jabotinsky Boulevard in Yavne. A number of people injured there were treated by medical staff. Police forces are on the site, and the circumstances of the event are being examined." Eight people were detained for questioning.
16 people had been killed this year before today in building site accidents with 68 more sustaining serious or moderate injuries.
Forum for the Prevention of Work Accidents founder Reuven Ben Shimon blamed Minister of Labor, Social Affairs, and Social Services Haim Katz, who is responsible for enforcing the work laws. Ben Shimon said, "Minister Katz has totally failed to protect the weakest workers in Israeli society. The situation now is that the contractors are building luxury housing out of workers' bodies, and the regulator is lending a hand to the continual lawlessness in the construction sector."
Ben Shimon added, "The contractors have to take responsibility for what is done on building sites. Aggressive action should be taken against contractors, including filing indictments against company managers and senior officeholders in contracting companies and preventing their participation in government projects."
The police said, "Investigation of the deadly work accident in which parts of a crane disintegrated took place today on the building site on Jabotinsky Boulevard in Yavne and which caused the death of four workers. It has been assigned to the Peles branch for investigating work accidents in the Lahav 433 unit established by the police and the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, and Social Services in the National Unit for Economic and Financial Crimes. Eight different staff on the work site are being detained for questioning following the incident, some of whom are being questioned under caution."
RMA Crane Technologies, which operates the crane on the construction site in Yavne, said, "We are stunned and full of grief at the severe accident. Our hearts at this time are with the families of the dead and injured. Details of the case are being examined, and we are unable to respond to the event before clarifying the details."
"Open a criminal investigation"
Blue White chairperson MK Avi Nissenkorn, MK Osama Sa'adi (Hadash-Ta'al), MK Michal Rozin (Meretz), and MK Moshe Arbel (Shas), founders of the work accidents lobby, are jointly calling for a criminal investigation and closing down the construction site immediately, following the disaster on the construction site.
They said, "How long will the impotence of those responsible for the security of workers in the construction industry continue? Despite the promises that safety rules will be enforced, punishment will be made stricter, and the workers' safety conditions will be improved, the promises are not being fulfilled, and workers are still being killed.
"We call on the government to act immediately to enforce stringent safety rules, send inspectors to existing building sites, and halt activity on dangerous sites in order to prevent further deaths and injuries among workers. We also demand that a criminal investigation be started immediately and the immediate closure of the building sites until those responsible for the disaster are identified. We are preparing for a constant struggle in the upcoming Knesset session in order to stop this severe failure. We will not rest until every construction worker leaving for work knows that he will return home safely at the end of the day."
Israel Builders Association safety committee head Maj. Gen. (res.) Eyal Ben-Reuven said, "The incident is horrifying. It is a national disaster that must not recur. This deadly accident took the lives of four human beings. It left four destroyed families whose lives will never be the same. This event explains why there is an urgent need for a single headquarters with all the information on safety in the construction sector, the founding of which was announced last week. The key to preventing accidents is transmitting knowledge - including investigation of accidents, disseminating the information, and professional training based on it. Investigation and disseminating information in this area must take place immediately, and the staff team therefore went today to gather information and investigate the event in the field. Initial professional practical lessons from it will be distributed tonight to all of the contractors who are members of the Builders Association.
"This accident took place after a series of crane accidents in recent years. The results of the investigations of them were not published, and there is no way to know whether the information from the investigations of previous accidents could have prevented this one. Among the main goals of the safety headquarters announced this week by the Builders Association is gathering the professional information from every accident and making it accessible to all contractors and other dealing in construction. If we do not learn from errors, we will be unable to prevent the next accidents."
Following the accident, Builders Association CEO Amnon Merhav contacted Haim Katz and welcomed his decision to hold an urgent discussion tomorrow to find additional tools for preventing accidents in the construction sector. He called on Katz to include the Builders Association work safety committee in the discussion.
Neot Shamir said, "The accident took place when workers of the RMA Crane Technologies company were unloading a crane on the site after work on it had been finished and it had been disassembled in order to return it to the company, because it had finished its work on the site. Assembling, operating, and disassembling the crane was done solely by RMA and under its exclusive responsibility. Neot Shamir strictly observe all of the stringent safety rules on the site. The site manager today instructed RMA workers about the necessary safety rules. We do not know the circumstances that caused the accident. We again emphasize that the disassembly work was carried out by RMA, an external company with great experience and knowledge in the sector. The developer, Assaf Kaduri, who is also the manager of the site, is as of this moment giving all the information in his possession to aid the investigation of the circumstances of the accident. Neot Shamir expresses deep sorrow about the death of four people in the serious accident."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on May 19, 2019
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