Agricultural inspectors are responsible for maintaining
standards and enforcing regulations within agriculture,
particularly on farms. They can be involved at different
points in the food production chain and work for a
variety of agencies, mostly public.
Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors act in an occupational health and safety role. Agricultural inspectors visit premises, make checks, note the infringement of any laws, and write reports and recommendations. During a visit they might: inspect processes and procedures; investigate accidents and complaints; and check machinery, environment and structures. In some cases they may present court cases.
Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) inspectors work in specialist inspectorates, enforcing UK and EU legislation. They collect and evaluate data, and issue certificates. Through visits and liaison, they encourage compliance with statutory obligations. They may also plan for the prevention, control and eradication of animal and poultry disease.
Some inspectors are employed by farm assurance schemes to check that agricultural practice meets the British Farm Standard (commonly known as the Little Red Tractor). They inspect the health and welfare of livestock; check animal feed; ensure livestock housing is safe and adequately spacious; check animal identification and veterinary treatments before granting certification and a seal of approval.
Working hours are typically 9am - 5pm, Monday to
Friday, with the possibility of extra hours. Although the
work is office-based, at least half of the time is spent
visiting workplaces, indoors and outdoors. Self-
employment and freelance work are sometimes possible.
Career breaks, part-time work and job-sharing may also
The job involves frequent travel, and occasional overnight stays away from home.
Conditions may be noisy, dirty, smelly or even dangerous. Where necessary, inspectors wear protective clothing.
To be an agricultural inspector you should:
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