Three construction workers were killed in the space of five hours on Thursday at three building sites.
A 16-year-old laborer was killed when scaffolding upon which several workers were sitting collapsed and fell at a site on Silver Street in the northern city of Nahariya.
A second worker, a 29-year-old man, was hospitalized in serious condition, and a third was lightly injured.
Earlier in the day, a 40-year-old man was killed when he fell from a high floor in a construction site in Rosh Ha’ayin, while a 50-year-old was hit by a tractor he was directing at a building site north of Tel Aviv.
Another construction worker was seriously hurt after receiving an electric shock at a building site in Beitar Illit southwest of Jerusalem. He was hospitalized at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem with burns on his upper torso.
The deaths bring the number of construction workers killed in Israel to 21 so far in 2017, according to the Group Against Building Accidents.
The rate of worker deaths in Israel is among the highest in the West and double the European Union average, according to the findings of an Economy Ministry and National Insurance Institute report published in May 2016.
Last September, six construction workers were killed when a four-story parking garage being built in the northern Tel Aviv neighborhood of Ramat Hahayal collapsed.
Following the fatal accident, lawmakers renewed calls to improve safety standards on construction sites and set up a parliamentary inquiry into construction workers’ deaths.
While accidents on building sites are common in Israel, most of those employed in construction in the country are Palestinian or foreign workers and the issue is rarely at the center of the public consciousness.
Only half of all deaths at construction sites between 2011 and 2015 were investigated, according to research carried out by the Knesset Research and Information Center, and in over 50 percent of those cases probes were closed due to inconclusive evidence, Israel Radio reported in September.
According to the report, the low rate of investigations stems from a lack of coordination between the three responsible authorities: the Safety Administration, the State Prosecution and the police. In a number of cases included in the report, some of the bodies were only informed of an accident six months after it took place.