Health and Safety Executive statistics show a slight drop on the 50 deaths in the previous year.
But Ucatt general secretary Steve Murphy said the reduction in fatalities came as thousands were leaving the industry due to the downturn.
He said: “No one should consider the latest construction fatality figures to be good news in anyway.
“Deaths remain far too high, especially given the declining number of people working in the industry. Each and every death results in a family being left devastated when a loved one is killed.”
The latest figures were published the day after consultation closed on scrapping existing safety regulations including the Construction (Head Protection) Regulations and the Tower Crane Register.
Murphy said: “Sadly all the indicators are that as the construction industry recovers deaths are likely to increase substantially.
“Rather than cutting back on the limited safety provisions that currently exist in the construction industry, the Government should be concentrating their energies on ensuring the safety of workers.”