New appointments at safety watchdog

Britain’s safety regulator has announced two senior appointments into key positions.

Susan Mackenzie, the Health and Safety Executive’s current head of Energy Division has been promoted to become HSE’s director of Hazardous Installations Directorate (HID). David Snowball, the current Scotland and Northern England regional director is appointed as Director of Field Operations (FOD). 

Both appointments are key to the future direction of the organisation as it implements the key recommendations in the Triennial Review of HSE that reported earlier this year. 

HID oversees the effective regulation of major hazard industries where failures in safe management and risk control can lead to catastrophic harm to workers and the public at large. These industries involve complex processes with intrinsic hazards that need careful management.   

FOD regulates a wide range of employment sectors covering a significant proportion of the GB economy including construction, agriculture, general manufacturing, engineering, food and drink, quarries, entertainment, education, health services, local and central government and domestic gas safety.  

Susan Mackenzie was key to the creation of HSE’s Energy Division (ED) in 2013, formerly known as Offshore Safety Division.

Having been with HSE for 23 years, the trained chemist has held a number of positions in HSE and formerly led explosives and biological agents for four years and the regulation of COMAH sites for five years before becoming head of ED just over a year ago, implementing several key changes in the way HSE regulates safety in the oil and gas sector.

Mackenzie’s new director role will see her retain responsibility for Energy Division and she will remain HSE’s representative on the Step Change Leadership Team, continuing to deliver industry presentations and attend key meetings.   

She said: “I’m delighted to have been appointed as director of HID and look forward to the challenges the role will present. It has been a privilege to be the first Head of Energy Division and I look forward to helping my successor and the industry drive forward and deliver the improvements we’ve agreed this year.  

“I look forward to a more senior role for the biological agents and explosives sectors, both of whom are vital to the UK economy. I am excited to be taking on greater responsibility for COMAH sites and the chemical sector. Chemicals are where I started both in terms of my degree and my career in HSE.”  

Snowball has been at HSE for 29 years since joining as a factory inspector.   

He was Head of Operations and then Regional Director for Yorkshire and the North East and took on the expanded Scotland and Northern England Division role in 2012 after a spell working in HID.  

He added: “As HSE is constantly having to evolve to face the challenges in a changing industry landscape I feel very fortunate to be in a role where I can help set the direction for committed staff whose straightforward aim is to keep workers and others healthy and safe.”  

Notes to Editors:  

1.         The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice, promoting training, new or revised regulations and codes of practice, and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.

 2.         Further HSE news releases are available at   

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