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HSE appoints two new board members 'to drive commercial agenda'

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HSE has appointed a software engineer and a PR expert to its board of non-executive directors, the first appointments made in the wake of a shakeup of the recruitment process brought about by the triennial review.


Computing expert Martyn Thomas, a former member of the Health and Safety Laboratory board who specialises in safety-critical systems and cybersecurity, will take up the post on 1 October. Meanwhile, Sarah Pinch, a corporate communications and marketing expert, will start at the beginning of February next year. Both positions are for a period of five-years.

They will take over from David Gartside, a former engineer for ICI who has been a member of the HSE board since April 2008, and Professor Richard Taylor, a nuclear safety and high-hazard industry expert.

“The HSE board is currently driving the agenda to commercialise more of HSE’s services and activities, and so on this occasion we sought candidates who could strengthen the board’s commercial and communication skills,” said HSE’s chair Judith Hackitt.

“Martyn Thomas brings his wealth of experience of commercial activities, including internationally, and most recently of commercialisation from the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) board to the HSE board. Sarah Pinch has a lot to offer HSE, having overseen successful communications in private, charitable and NHS organisations as they grew in new markets or experienced other significant change.”

The government’s response to Martin Temple’s triennial review said HSE had undertaken a ‘light-touch’ review of the remit and experience of the board, adding requirements for non-executive directors to have commercial acumen in order to drive the commercialisation programme.

Thomas’s experience in the private sector has seen him found and run software engineering company, Praxis plc, become a partner in Deloitte Consulting and advise the directors of large and small organisations internationally.

He is a member of the Defence Scientific Advisory Council, a non-executive director of the Office of the Independent Adjudicator and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. In 2007 he was awarded a CBE for services to software engineering.

Thomas said: “As a non-executive director of the Health and Safety Laboratory, I have seen the excellent science that underpins HSE’s policies, inspections and regulations, and the many ways in which HSE is able to add value to industry and wellbeing. I look forward to helping HSE benefit more companies and achieve its mission of preventing death, injury and ill health to those at work and those affected by work activities.”

Pinch started her career as a journalist for the BBC, leaving in 2000 after 11 years to work in PR and corporate communications. She has experience in the private, public and not for profit sectors. In 2011 she won the inaugural Institute of Directors and Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) PR Director of the Year award. In 2013 she founded Pinch Point Communications.

“It is a real privilege to be appointed to the board of the HSE,” said Pinch. “I have, in my professional life, seen the central, enabling role health and safety can play in the workplace. I am looking forward to working with the board and contributing to the continued success of the HSE, through further engagement with stakeholders and staff to deliver demonstrable results.”

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