Following the collapse of the crane in Kfar Saba.
(photo credit: MAGEN DAVID ADOM)
A 52-year-old woman died when a crane fell on her parked vehicle near a construction site in Kfar Saba on Sunday afternoon.
Soon after the crane fell, Magen David Adom paramedics arrived at the scene, which was near a shopping center at the Ra’anana junction. The vehicle was destroyed.
Police have opened a criminal investigation and have taken three people in for questioning, including the crane operator, according to the Walla! website. The construction contractor is Shoval Engineering Ltd.
In 2015, a construction worker at Shoval Engineering was killed after falling from a crane in the central town of Tzoran-Kadima.
Last year, a crane collapse in Bat Yam landed on a nearby car with a father and daughter, who miraculously escaped uninjured. But the crane operator was severely injured.
Crane collapses and construction site deaths in Israel are not rare, as the country employs some 22 safety inspectors for 13,000 construction sites, according to Hadas Tagari, who heads the Facebook group “Struggle against construction accidents.”
“Operators have warned for a long time about the level of safety and poor maintenance of cranes at construction sites, many of which are very old,” Tagari said in a statement, as some of the cranes date from the 1970s and 1980s.
An estimated 35 construction workers were killed last year in accidents – many of whom are Palestinian or foreign guest workers. Already in 2018, six workers have been killed.
“The government of Israel, led by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and with the assistance of Housing Minister Yoav Galant, is leading an unstoppable building boom that leaves the workers and the general public devoid of protection against the dangers of these construction sites,” Tagari added.
According to Kav L’oved, a workers rights group, the labor minister and the transportation minister are not coordinating adequately, leaving many cranes operating without a license.
The group also alleges that the Labor Ministry is not adequately fining safety offenses. “Contractors who are first-time safety offenders will not be fined at all and will only be warned. The fines imposed on contractors in general will, in many cases, be 25%-40% lower than the law mandates,” the group said in a statement in October.
The Labor Ministry and the Transportation Ministry could not be reached as of press time.