Head of Health and Safety

Health and Safety Executive Published: February 21, 2018


This senior leadership role offers a challenging and stretching opportunity for an experienced health and safety professional to ensure that, as the regulator, we are an ‘exemplar’ in the application of proportionate, risk based approaches to deliver a safe, healthy workplace for all our people.

The role requires relevant expertise and experience in providing Director level advice on varied health and safety issues, and in actively supporting a positive safety culture in organisations of comparable complexity to HSE. It will also need excellent leadership and interpersonal skills to establish professional credibility and authority quickly.

The Head of Health and Safety reports to the Director of People and Capability.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) At HSE, we work with one goal in mind – to help keep Britain’s workforce safe and healthy. We are the independent regulator for work-related health and safety in Great Britain. Our work touches virtually every sector of Great Britain’s industries and the constantly evolving nature of work and technology. Combining experts from virtually every field, our employees strive to keep people and their working environments safe. We don’t just inspect workplaces and enforce the law, we campaign for better health and safety practice, we shape and review guidance and regulations, we provide specialist products and services both here and overseas, and we produce crucial research and statistics – all towards our goal #HelpGBWorkWell.

HSE is highly regarded both nationally and internationally. The benefits that our work brings to business, workers and the UK economy are clear. Improved health and safety risk management protects workers and translates into reduced sickness absence, lower healthcare and welfare costs, and better productivity.

Our plans for the coming years see us building on this rich heritage. We will continue to innovate and refine how we operate as a regulator to ensure that we remain modern, effective and relevant.

HSE is an executive non-departmental public body, part of the civil service, and sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions. More details can be found on our website: hse.gov.uk


HSE intends to be an exemplar to other organisations in how to manage health and safety well: where others can learn from how we do things and where we show visible leadership. Recent years have seen increased investment to modernise our health and safety management practices, with increasing focus on health and wellbeing alongside safety, addressing topical issues and refreshing existing safety management systems.

We have developed an extensive programme of continuous improvement that takes forward a number of areas.

Priorities for the health and safety advisor include:

• Integration of safety management systems used in our science and engineering laboratories with those used across the wider HSE – modernising and streamlining them, while retaining external accreditation for those areas that require this.

• Ensuring effective implementation within our divisions of an updated approach to risk management, together with associated competence requirements.

• Define and take forward actions, in a collaborative way, that support an on-going focus on encouraging and promoting a positive safety culture across HSE, including strong leadership action in this area and proactive involvement of our TU safety representatives

As part of our People and Capability Division, the Head of Health and Safety will also interface closely with colleagues leading our wellbeing initiatives and contribute to our occupational health activities. As well as providing leadership and direct management to a team of four Health and Safety Advisors, the post-holder will be expected to develop an efficient team required to deliver their accountability, working closely with other senior leaders and experts to draw in the capability to support our ambitions.



• Accountable for the development, implementation and continual improvement of HSE’s safety management system, including assuring its effective operation.

• Responsible for advising and supporting Divisional Directors in their H&S leadership role to ensure a strong, shared H&S culture in the delivery of all our work. Key Responsibilities:

• Leading and owning the corporate safety improvement programme that fulfils our ambition for HSE to be an exemplar in the management of health and safety, with a strong focus on creating a culture of continuous improvement in all aspects of Health and Safety. Embedding this across the organisation to re-invigorate workforce engagement.

• Providing the highest standards of authoritative advice and support to the Chief Executive, senior leaders and the HSE Board, based on good safety management practice, a risk based approach, and supported by robust performance data.

• Developing and continuously improving HSE’s safety management system, aligning this with other business processes, and ensuring the usability of this system through colleague/ TU engagement, clear communications and an effective corporate H&S committee structure.

• Guiding & supporting HSE Leaders in creating the right environment and culture in which HSE colleagues can deliver their work to exemplary H&S standards

• Provide independent assurance that ensures HSE’s activities, and those of our suppliers, are compliant with HSE’s expectations, H&S legislation and relevant industry standards. This includes risk based audits, assurance reviews and overseeing the H&S incident investigation system to ensure that all incidents are investigated at the appropriate level, corrective actions closed and lessons learnt.

• Lead the H&S team to provide strategy, policy, standards, within a leadership model that ensures that HSE is operating a proportionate, risk-based safety system.

• Proactively establishing, maintaining and sharing insight from personal networks and other collaborative activities to scan the external environment, benchmark H&S approaches and, where appropriate, to promote HSE’s approach.

• As a senior leader in HSE, contributing beyond immediate functional responsibilities.

Person specification

The role requires the postholder to have the experience and interpersonal skills to establish professional credibility and authority.

The following experience is sought:

• Recent senior leadership experience within a multi-faceted H&S function, including identifying and managing risks.

• Evidence of developing and delivering strategic health and safety plans aligned to an overall business strategy, including actions to promote a positive safety culture

• Knowledge of best practice health and safety management techniques (including culture) and awareness of evolving international health and safety standards.

• Extensive experience of providing visible and inspiring leadership, building capability, engaging and influencing colleagues, and applying rigorous management of expected H&S standards

• Experience in advising Directors and other senior leaders on varied health and safety issues, including being able to quickly distil information from a variety of sources to identify risks, develop sound recommendations and communicate complex issues clearly.

The following is desirable:

• Application of digital or similar technologies to support communications, to ensure H&S procedures are ease of use for and monitoring performance

• Programme management experience Personal Attributes:

• Inspiring, confident and empowering leadership skills (view the Civil Service Leadership Statement), both of teams and corporately, to produce high performance to influence and achieve impact through others;

• Able to embed a collaborative working culture across diverse multi-disciplinary teams (within and beyond line management)

• Able to work at pace in a complex and multi-stakeholder environment at a senior level, and able to manage political and reputational risks;

• Able to see the big picture, to identify tensions, set priorities and make trade-offs between the strategic and the pragmatic;

• Highly articulate and credible at senior levels, with well-developed communication, influencing and interpersonal skills;

• A proven record of winning and retaining the trust of senior management, Boards and colleagues at all levels


The candidate must hold a health and safety professional qualification (e.g. NEBOSH Diploma in Health and Safety Management, CMIOSH or equivalent).

Find out more about this exciting role and apply at https://www.civilservicejobs.service.gov.uk/csr/jobs.cgi?jcode=1574329.

Bootle, United Kingdom
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