John Rimington CB

Culminating in his appointment as Director General of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in 1984, a post he held for eleven years, John Rimington had a distinguished and highly influential career in the Civil Service, reaching the rank of Permanent Secretary in 1992.

During his time at the head of HSE he played a major role in building and consolidating the UK system for regulating health and safety at work, extending a risk based approach safety to diverse sectors and issues. In particular, he was instrumental in developing the UK’s approach to regulating major hazards and nuclear activities, which in turn has been highly influential internationally.

Born in 1935, John Rimington was educated at Nottingham High School and Jesus College Cambridge where he studied history. Following a National Service Commission in the Royal Artillery he joined the Board of Trade in 1959. He was later seconded to HM Treasury where he worked on currency decimalisation. Later he served as a First Secretary in New Delhi, moving back to the DTI and then the Department of Employment. After a period as part of the UK’s permanent representative team in Brussels, he worked for the Manpower Services Commission, becoming an Under Secretary in 1978 and eventually Director of Safety Policy at HSE in 1981. He was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1987 in recognition of conspicuous services to the Crown. He holds a number of non-executive directorships. He is a member of the National Council of the National Consumer’ Association and is a visiting professor at the University of Strathclyde. In his spare time he enjoys, walking, gardening and watching cricket.

Delivered the Allan St. John Holt lecture in 2008.