1 dead, 1 seriously injured in warehouse accident at Ben Gurion Airport

1 dead, 1 seriously injured in warehouse accident at Ben Gurion Airport

Two men crushed by piece of heavy machinery; police and Labor Ministry representatives on scene to collect eyewitness accounts

Magen David Adom ambulances at Ben Gurion airport as an El Al plane made an emergency landing, April 21, 2015. (MDA spokesperson/MDA operations)
Illustrative: Magen David Adom ambulances at Ben Gurion airport, April 21, 2015. (MDA spokesperson)

An employee of Ben Gurion Airport was killed and another man was seriously injured in an incident at the warehouse of an international shipping company at the airfield on Sunday.

Both men were in their 60s, Channel 13 news reported, and were crushed by a heavy piece of machinery.

According to Channel 12 news, the two men were crushed by a forklift that fell from a lift.

Israel Police and Labor Ministry representatives arrived on the scene to collect testimonies from eyewitnesses.

The warehouse in which the accident took place is not part of the airport itself.

A view of Ben Gurion International Airport near Lod on May 8, 2018. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Earlier this month it was revealed that police have not opened criminal investigations in 75 percent of job site accidents from 2016 to 2018 that led to deaths or severe injuries for workers, according to figures released under freedom-of-information laws.

Police records show that of 850 worksite accidents during those years in which police were called in, only in 212 did officers open criminal probes.

The freedom-of-information request that made the figures public was filed by Kav LaOved, a foreign-worker advocacy group. The numbers were first reported in the Haaretz daily.

According to Kav LaOved, 124 workers died from 2016 to 2018 in 118 deadly accidents at worksites, while 585 accidents resulted in moderate or serious injuries. Nearly all were at construction sites.

The figures mark a slight decline in the rate of criminal investigations from past years, the group says. Between 2011 and 2015, 27.6% of such accidents led to criminal investigations, according to figures cited by Haaretz that were reported by police to the Knesset.

Rescue workers at the site of a collapsed building in the Ramat Hahayal neighborhood of Tel Aviv, September 6, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

While the rate of criminal probes did not rise, the absolute number did — to keep up with the dramatic spike in the number of serious and deadly accidents. The years 2011 to 2015 saw an average of 160 worksite accidents per year. In 2016-2018, the figure soared to 283 per year, a 77% jump.

In response to the huge spike in worksite accidents, police at the end of 2018 established a special unit called Peles under the aegis of its serious crimes unit Lahav 433, which specializes in accident investigation. But, according to Haaretz, the unit has opened investigations into only three of the 38 deadly accidents that have occurred thus far in 2019.

Police have said the unit is not meant to investigate every accident, but only those “with unique attributes, like complex accidents involving infrastructure collapse, or the sort that require expertise and resources,” according to a police statement to Kav LaOved.

In a response to the report, the Israel Police said in a statement that it “investigates workplace accidents professionally and thoroughly, with the goal of determining the truth and ensuring suspects face justice, according to the evidence and circumstances” of each case.

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