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Page last updated at 09:34 GMT, Wednesday, 29 April 2009 10:34 UK
Health and Safety Executive responds

The Health and Safety Executive's statement in response to concerns raised by a farmer as to the regulatory nature of the business.

Farming is one of the most dangerous industries to work in, with an accident rate three times that of the construction industry. As a regulator, it is the duty of Health and Safety Executive to ensure that farmers do all they can to avoid themselves, family members or employees being killed on their farms.

Last year, HSE launched 'Make the Promise - Come Home Safe' campaign - its most successful campaign to date - working collaboratively with highly respected farming organisations such as the NFU. The amount of consultancy with farmers during this campaign suggests HSE has worked well with the industry and in turn, thousands of farmers seem to like what we are doing.

As a public body, the BBC has a statutory duty to allow us a right to reply and to produce a balanced programme. We recently facilitated an interview with Judith Hackitt, Chair of the HSE, for the original Panorama programme 'May Contain Nuts'. We were disappointed therefore to see this film on the BBC website without any representation from Health and Safety Executive in it.

Despite the fact that Judith Hackitt answered a question about bureaucracy and paperwork in her original interview, this was not used in the 'Farmers, Forms and Frustrations' film, nor have we been asked to respond specifically to the accusations levelled at us by the famer interviewed in it.

The questions asked of the interviewee in the film were leading and opinion-based and primarily about broad concerns around bureaucracy rather than being matters that are the responsibility of HSE in particular.

The 'masking' of the farmer's identity sensationalised and over dramatised the issue. Whilst we recognise that the BBC must respect the wishes of those it interviews, it should have sought to interview one who would go on-the-record. HSE is a fair regulator, which does not have the remit, the inclination, or the resources to pursue individuals who complain about it.


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