ISRAEL: New initiatives to build site safety enforcement

The Standards Institution of Israel and the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare have launched new initiatives to improve safety on construction sites, whereby people will be trained to inspect sites, while site managers and workers will receive safety training.

“We are aware of the severe situation on construction sites when it comes to safety, and we have come up with construction site safety checks,” says Adi Cafri, safety engineer at the Standards Institution of Israel (SII).

“The Safety Administration tries to visit all the sites, but they have limited manpower. The service we are offering is not regulatory, and is nothing to do with fines. It is intended to help contractors improve safety at the sites themselves. Today’s concept around the world is less regulation and more independent safety awareness on the part of companies and workers, and not to wait until accidents happen at building sites,” he added.

Cafri says that those selected to implement the programme are people with a background in construction. “We built a theoretical and practical training course with the help of Dr Avi Griffel. We have no connection to the Safety Administration in the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, but we’re in touch with all the entities involved. Later on someone might decide to turn it into a compulsory inspection at every building site.”

Currently, a building contractor can ask the SII for training, and the SII itself approaches contractors. So far, 30 people have been trained for the job, which is more than the number of safety inspectors at the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare.

Meanwhile, the Ministry has started a pilot scheme for identifying safety breaches at 400 construction sites using new technologies.  In the coming months, the Ministry plans to start using the services of technology providers to gather information and identify safety breaches. The pilot is designed to test the performance of these technologies.