7 January 2014

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has appointed a new head of waste and recycling, a historically high risk industrial sector.

Rick Brunt, current head of field operations for the North West of Scotland and Northern England Division, will replace Graeme Walker who retires from the HSE after 37 years of service.

A source at the safety watchdog said the new head of waste and recycling will work closely with industry and will lead a unit of inspectors, policy officials and support staff.

Rick Brunt joined the HSE as a trainee agricultural inspector in 1989 after completing his degree in Agriculture at London University and a short spell at the Ministry of Agriculture. During his time with the HSE, he has worked as an inspector in a number of other industries, including engineering, utilities and domestic gas. He has also been appointed head of the agricultural sector.

The waste and recycling sector remains one of Britain’s higher risk industries, with 10 people killed in 2012/13, double the lives lost in the previous year.

Although the sector accounts for only about 0.6% of the employees in Britain, it makes up 2.8% of reported injuries to employees (with 11% of the fatalities, 2.6% of the major injuries and 2.8% of the over-seven-day injuries).

Commenting on his new position, Rick Brunt said, “As head of operations I have seen the consequences of poorly managed risks in the waste and recycling industry, and while progress has been made in addressing these problems, the industry has plenty of scope to reduce the toll of injuries and deaths. I am looking forward to working with the industry, and supporting them in tackling the issues that sit behind the injury statistics.”

Further information on the HSE’s work in the waste and recycling industry can be accessed at www.hse.gov.uk/waste.