New head of agriculture at Health and Safety Executive

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

Brunt has replaced Graeme Walker, who retired from the HSE after 37 years of service. The new head will lead 11 specialist inspectors, policy officials and support staff.

Brunt said: “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. Those involved in the industry recognise that the toll of deaths and injuries can be further reduced.”

Despite safety improving in recent times, agriculture is still one of Britain’s most dangerous industries. The average fatality rate remains considerably higher than in other industries and there were 29 deaths in 2012/13.

Walker, who is stepping down, 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. 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.”

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