In the year to 31 March 2012 there were 39 fatal injuries to construction workers recorded in Great Britain – a rate of 1.9 deaths per 100,000 workers. This compares to an average of 53 deaths in the past five years and a decrease from the 48 deaths recorded in 2011/12.
By comparison, the fatal injury rate for agricultural workers was 8.8 deaths per 100,000 workers and for waste & recycling workers it was 8.2 deaths per 100,000 workers.
Across all industries, 148 people were killed in workplace accidents in England, Scotland and Wales last year, equating to a rate of 0.5 per 100,000 workers. This is down from the 172 killed the previous year and the five-year average rate of 0.6 per 100,000.
HSE chair Judith Hackitt said: "These figures are being published in the same week as the 25th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster, and are a reminder to us all of why health and safety is so important. Although the number of people killed at work has dropped significantly, last year 148 people failed to return home to their loved ones.
"The fact that Britain continues to have one of the lowest levels of workplace fatalities in Europe will be of little consolation to those who lose family members, friends and work colleagues.
"HSE is striving to make health and safety simpler and clearer for people to understand so that more people do what is required to manage the real risks that cause death and serious injury.
"We all have a part to play to ensure people come home safe at the end of the working day and good leadership, employee engagement and effective risk-management are key to achieving this."