Three construction site workers fell when scaffolding collapsed from a height of 12 meters, at a building site on Weizmann street in Petah Tikva on Tuesday.
The workers managed to get out of the site before the emergency services arrived and five teams of fire fighters conducted a search for a fourth man, but it later transpired that no additional workmen had been caught up in the incident. No injuries were reported.
Representatives of the Petah Tikva Municipality's Construction Supervision Department also went to the scene with an order to stop the work at the site, and a representative of the Ministry of Labor was summoned to examine the circumstances of the incident.
The phenomenon of dangerous and often deadly construction site accidents is at the heart of an unlimited general strike set to be launched by the Histadrut labor federation starting Wednesday, which will bring the country’s public and private sectors to a standstill.
Histadrut chairman Avi Nissenkorn and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon met this week to try to reach a solution, but Nissenkorn said there had been no progress in negotiations so far, and the strike looked set to go ahead.
Nissenkorn reacted to the latest incident, saying: "The unfortunate incident is further evidence of the serious security failure in the State of Israel. Almost every day we witness more and more casualties, deaths and serious safety incidents that could have been prevented.
The wait for solutions leads to additional victims and it is impossible to wait longer for the allocation of resources to prevent workplace accidents. The struggle to ensure safety in the workplace, and in the construction sector in particular, is a struggle to save lives."
He warned that if no agreement was found in the coming hours, the general strike would go ahead on Wednesday in "a severe escalation of the campaign."
Nissenkorn announced the planned strike last Thursday at an emergency meeting in Tel Aviv as frustration continued to grow over perceived government failures to tackle the rising death and injury toll at construction sites.
The Finance Ministry has said in response that construction site security was of high importance and it was working to improve the current situation.
A total of 37 construction workers have died and 191 have been injured – 38 of those seriously – so far this year, according to data compiled by the NGO Workers Hotline. In 2017, 35 construction workers died and 264 were injured.
The strike will affect large sectors of the Israeli economy, including government ministries, public authorities, universities, transport services, the Airports Authority and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. They will be joined by a range of major private sector unions.
The Teachers' Union will not strike but sent a statement of support to the Histadrut
Eytan Halon contributed to this report.
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