The government has confirmed it is to launch its second inquiry into deaths in the construction industry in two years in the week that another foreign worker died on a UK construction site.

Geoffrey Podger, chief executive of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), revealed that James Purnell, the work and pensions secretary, had committed to “commission the HSE to conduct an investigation into recent deaths in the construction industry” at a meeting about vulnerable workers at 10 Downing Street on 24 June.

Podger said in a report to the HSE’s board of directors that this would involve the HSE engaging external researchers to look into the causes of fatal accidents in construction.

“The HSE sees the new commission as an opportunity to gather valuable intelligence that can help shape future strategy,” he said. The research will be phased to deliver early information.

The news of the inquiry, which will look particularly at the issue of vulnerable workers, comes in the week that a 28-year-old Albanian was killed on a Simons Construction site near Oxford. The man, Altin Balla, was working for Safety Net Services in Whitney, when he became trapped under an overturned cherry-picker.

In 2006/07, 77 workers died from construction-related injuries, a 28% rise on the previous year.