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HSE appoints new head of agriculture

Date:
6 January 2014

A new head of agriculture has been appointed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Rick Brunt leaves his position as head of field operations for the North West to replace Graeme Walker who retires from HSE after 37 years service.

The head of agriculture will work closely with industry and will lead a Unit of 11 specialist inspectors, policy officials and support staff.   

Despite improvements in recent years, agriculture remains one of Britain’s most dangerous industries. Twenty nine workers were killed in 2012/13 and the average fatality rate, over the last five years, is much higher than in any other industry.

Rick Brunt said:

“It has been nearly nine years since I was last working closely with the industry, and while much has changed, many of the underlying problems are all too familiar.

“Under Graeme’s leadership a lot has been achieved in recent years, and I look forward to building on those achievements and once again working with and supporting the agricultural industry as it promotes a culture where risk isn’t accepted as a given and those involved in the industry recognise that the toll of deaths and injuries can be further reduced.”

Graeme Walker said:

“During my five years as head of agriculture, a great deal of progress has been made by industry in tackling the problems inherent in agricultural working.

“By developing leadership from within, through initiatives such as the farm safety and forestry partnerships, industry is beginning to address the behavioural and cultural factors that lead to unwise risk taking and unsafe practices.

“I’m pleased to be handing over to Rick who in fact started out his career at HSE as an agriculture Inspector.  He will have the full support of the dedicated and hard working sector team, and I am confident he will continue to provide vital support to industry to encourage them to bring about further improvements to their safety record.”

Notes to editors

  1. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement. www.hse.gov.uk
  2. Rick Brunt joined HSE as a trainee agricultural inspector in 1989 after completing his Degree in Agriculture at LondonUniversity and a short spell at the Ministry of Agriculture. During his time with HSE, Rick has worked as an inspector in a number of other industries, including engineering, utilities and domestic gas. He was promoted to Head of operations for the North West in 2009, where he led the delivery of HSEs inspection, investigation and enforcement activities for the region. In 2011, Rick took up leadership of the learning and development team, with an oversight of the induction and training of new inspectors and the development of a post graduate diploma training programme.
  3. Rick is also appointed Head of the waste and recycling sector
  4. Please visit http://www.hse.gov.uk/agriculture/ for more information on  HSE’s work in the agriculture industry.
  5. HSE information and news releases can be accessed on the Internet www.hse.gov.uk/press.  HSE Press Office is on Twitter @H_S_E

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