Five years ago, we began a public campaign to promote safety in the construction industry, and in the last two years we have expanded our activities to promote safety at work in all sectors of the economy. During this time, we have been able to significantly raise public awareness of occupational safety failures, and our efforts have led to important achievements, including key legislative changes. Nevertheless, the number of work accidents in Israel continues to rise. 

Our annual report shows that despite an overall decrease in the number of fatalities, the number of those injured in work accidents increased by 20% in the last couple of years, from 351 injured workers in 2018 to 424 in 2020. The construction industry still remains the most dangerous sector in Israel, with a 22% increase in casualties this year compared to last year. 

In light of this alarming data, we examined the level of state enforcement against employers who violate the safety of their employees. Unfortunately, we found that the authorities have barely used the administrative enforcement tools available to them, and criminal enforcement against safety offenders is almost nonexistent. This situation, in turn, has led to a total disregard for the rules and regulations by employers. 

The Safety Administration imposed only 179 financial sanctions on contractors this year, despite the fact that 5,380 safety orders were imposed to address safety violations that frequently endanger the health and safety of workers. It is difficult to understand why the Safety Administration chose to impose sanctions on less than 4% of the safety violations for which orders were issued. 

Another important deterrent to a contractor who violates safety regulations is the possibility of having their license revoked or suspended by the Registrar of Contractors. However, our analysis shows that although more than 40 contractors have accumulated more than 10 safety orders this year, meeting the criteria for license revocation, only three of them were summoned for a hearing with the Registrar of Contractors. 

Yet another deterrent available to authorities is removing a contractor who has consistently breached safety regulations from the list of contractors eligible to bid on government tenders for building projects. However, our review of the data shows that nine of the companies that have accumulated more than 10 safety orders, criteria for removal from the list of eligible bidders, this year are still registered as eligible contractors for government tenders.

All of these issues paint a very clear picture—we still have a lot of work to do.

To the
full report in hebrew.