PA: Over 700 workers hurt on job in 2013
Published Thursday 01/05/2014 (updated) 05/05/2014 10:56
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Over 700 Palestinian workers sustained injuries from accidents on the job in 2013, the Palestinian minister of labor said Thursday marking May Day.
Ahmad Majdalani said 20 workers died and 752 workers sustained injuries.
The labor ministry, he added, has taken legal procedures against work places which do not observe the internationally accepted standards of safety.
The minister confirmed that 5,913 cases of legal procedures against work places which breached safety regulations were made and some places were shut down. Many others received official warnings, he maintained.
But the secretary-general of the Palestinian federation of trade unions, Haydar Ibrahim, also told Ma’an that official efforts to maintain security and safety standards were insufficient. The ministry of labor, he said, is responsible for the safety of workers along with employers, trade unions and workers themselves.
Ibrahim urged the ministry to regularly carry out inspection visits on a daily basis at work places and to take procedures against those who violate safety regulations.
In addition, employers and employees across the West Bank should be invited to join workshops to teach them the best ways to avoid work accidents, he suggested. Ibrahim highlighted that labor ministry inspectors do not conduct enough inspection visits to work places because they are not well-equipped. The ministry, he added, has very few vehicles available to inspectors to use for visiting work places.
Director of safety and health department of the ministry of labor Firas Abu Hamad urged workers to boycott any facilities which do not observe safety regulations. Construction workers, he said, are the most vulnerable. They should demand adequate clothes, shoes, helmets and other safety equipment from their employers.
May Day is celebrated internationally to honor workers around the world.
The Palestinian Authority as well as most nongovernmental organizations in the occupied territories give employees the day off.
Surprisingly, however, most manual laborers do not have a holiday on their day in Palestine. Construction workers, agriculture workers, factory workers and others usually go to work regularly on May 1 each year.