After two workers died on Saturday at Paz Refineries in Ashdod due to alleged hydrogen sulfide poisoning, the Israel Institute of Occupational Safety and Hygiene (IIOSH) called upon both employers and employees around the country to be more fastidious about adhering to safety protocols.

While IIOSH representatives did not want to make specific comments about this incident, since it was still under investigation by the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry on Sunday evening, they said the event spoke to an alarming trend of worksite accidents occurring lately.

In the past week alone, there have been six such fatal events – two ostensibly from poison inhalation at the Paz site, one by falling from a great height, one shocked to death by electricity, one fatally struck by an object and one other incident, according to Andrew Matayas, head of public relations at IIOSH.

“This is by far, by far too much,” Matayas told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

“We at IIOSH would like to call upon all the employers and the employees and to emphasize the importance of following the safety instructions and to be very strict about behaving accordingly.”

Employers should be constantly conducting safety courses tailored to the needs of their workers, stressing the details of all the safety guidelines in the particular facility or construction zone, Matayas continued.

Meanwhile, in addition to turning to their employers if uncertain about dangers at work or hazards involved with specific activities, employees can approach IIOSH’s information center free of charge by phone or via their website, to receive guidance on all such questions, he added.

As part of its Safety and Health Administration, the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry routinely sends inspectors to all of the country’s factories to monitor safety compliance and conditions, and the safety regulations in Israel “are very, very advanced,” Matayas said.

However, such advanced rules can only be effective if all employees and employers are following them meticulously, he explained.

“It’s very sad to hear [about] so many deaths that are unnecessary,” Matayas said.

“I call everyone who has a question about specific materials or rules, or questions about safety at work or home [to contact us] and we will be happy to assist them,” he added.

As of Sunday evening, a spokesman for the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry said that the investigation into what led the two men to their tragic deaths at the Ashdod refinery on Saturday was still ongoing.

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