This was the same as the average for the previous five years, the HSE said, although it was 23% up on the 35 construction fatalities in 2014/15.
More workers are killed in construction compared to any other industry in the UK. In agriculture there were 27 deaths last year (compared to the five-year average of 32); in manufacturing there were also 27 deaths (compared to five-year average 22).
HSE has also released the latest available figures on deaths from asbestos-related cancer. Mesothelioma, one of the few work related diseases where deaths can be counted directly, contracted through past exposure to asbestos killed 2,515 in Great Britain in 2014 compared to 2,556 in 2013.
Construction union Ucatt criticised the timing of the release of the HSE statistics. Acting general secretary Brian Rye said: “This is clearly a case of burying bad news. At a time when we have huge amounts of political turmoil and the Chilcot Report finally being published, the HSE decided to publish the latest fatality figures. They have effectively brushed them under the carpet. They could and should have waited just a single day.”
Across all industries, a total of 144 people were killed while at work in 2015/2016 – up from 142 in 2014/5. There were also 103 members of the public fatally injured in accidents connected to work in 2015/16, of which 36 (35%) related to incidents occurring on railways.