Trade unions urge the government to create corporate manslaughter legislation as site deaths continue to rise.

Trade unions have called for the government to make good its manifesto pledge and create corporate manslaughter legislation that could be used to prosecute construction firms as the number of deaths in construction continues to rise.

The TUC said 1,000 workers had died on British sites since 1992, of which 37 were in the last six months. In the year to April 2004, 30 per cent of all British deaths in the work place wore in the construction industry. Deputy General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: "Employers will only change their poor health and safety practices when they realise that they are likely to be punished if found guilty of causing the deaths of their staff or members of the public.”

Dismissing the practice of simply putting up safety notices on-site, the TUC pointed out that English is not the first language of a growing number of construction workers, and insisted that employers should put more importance on training. It hopes that the European Health and Safety Week (18-23 October) will bring attention to the issue at the highest levels.