Head of Health and Safety

  • Job Reference: JOB-9086
  • Date Posted: 3 March 2023
  • Location: Chessington, Greater London, England
  • Salary: £55,000 to £65,000
  • Sector: Other Rail Jobs
  • Job Type: Permanent

Job Description

Head of Health and Safety: Opportunity Brief

Ford & Stanley Executive Search – Specialists in Executive Interim & Permanent appointments have been instructed on the search for a Head of Health and Safety on behalf of Chessington World of Adventures.

Chessington World of Adventures forms a part of a world-leading group in the entertainment industry and whom were one of the first themed amusement parks in Britain.

Client Opportunity Statement:

“With our park numbers rising exponentially, we have the perfect opportunity to break away from doing things ‘because that’s the way we have always done them’ and bring about innovation, positive change and new ways of working. With plans for a new water park, a world-exclusive guest experience sector and resort/hotel development – there really is no better time to get on board…”

Scope of Job:

Working in a fast-paced and guest-facing business, HSS Team is a dynamic team responsible for all elements across the resort to ensure the park is operating safely and effectively at all times. Our team members are enthusiastic and motivated to deliver and improve the service we provide while having a sense of fun and community that comes from working with Merlin Entertainments and Chessington World of Adventures.

You are responsible for supporting managers and staff in ensuring the safe operation of the resort to enable memorable experiences for our guests. To be able to do this you will make safety simple, relevant and accessible. You will also deputise for the Director of HSS as directed.

Main Purpose of the role:

  • Management of the Safety team including:
    • recruitment, selection and retention
    • empowering them and leading by example, motivating them to give the best service possible
    • acknowledging and rewarding success (via the Star system and other initiatives)
    • succession planning
    • personal and professional development including training, opportunities to act up and lead work and visit other sites/operations (Merlin and others)
    • development of a culture that supports the Head of Safety objectives
    • undertaking workload and priority setting
    • attendance & sickness absence
    • capability and disciplinary issues
  • Provide specialist subject matter expert advice to staff and managers across the Resort.
  • Work with staff and managers to implement Group safety strategy, brand, policies, standards, alerts, bulletins, and initiatives.
  • Liaise with Group about any local guidance or ‘policy’ which is developed.
  • Identify priorities for improvement and work with managers to develop action plans to drive forward improvement.
  • Support the Director of HSS in managing the Health & Safety action plan and safety elements of the Risk Register.
  • Support the Director of HSS in identifying priorities for capital expenditure (capex) for safety improvements, and work with managers to cost those improvements for consideration in capex planning.
  • Make sure incidents are recorded, the investigation is proportionate to the incident and actions are followed through to completion. Review potentially reportable incidents and undertake the reporting of those that meet the legislative criteria. Identify safety performance trends, potential causes and discuss with Director of HSS for potential action.
  • Work with the Guest Excellence Team to respond to guest safety concerns.
  • Oversee the personal accident claims management process.
  • Maintain a H&S training schedule that supports the requirements of the Resort.
  • Assist in the development of, and ongoing compliance with, the Resort’s safety assurance programme in order to provide ongoing assurance to the Director of HSS and the Senior Leadership Team. Work with managers across the Resort to make sure that appropriate emergency arrangements are in place, rehearsed and lessons learnt are reviewed. Manage and support internal audit activity in line with Group policy and support actions to respond to third party audits
  • Provision of routine reports, or information for routine reports, and ad hoc information as required
  • Support the Director of HSS in preparing for and managing the Resort’s HSS Forum and other safety related meetings.
  • Manage a rota for safety duty providing an on site presence during ‘peak’ times and an on call service during off peak times
  • Work closely with the Security, Occupational Health and First Aid teams to make sure there is a joint approach to incident management.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with other Resort Theme Parks’s, Merlin attractions, internal Compliance leads (Rides and Engineering) and the wider industry.
  • Work with the Director of HSS to ensure co-ordination of enforcing authority contact.
  • Be prepared to undertake senior Park Management roles including Park Manager and ID when suitably experienced and trained.

Candidate Essentials:

  • Continuous improvement experience and a passion for innovation
  • Strong personality – able to deal with pressure and a fast-paced environment.
  • NEBOSH Diploma or equivalent
  • Wide range of Safety experience in a public-facing or high hazard
  • Can be an up-and-coming manager or experienced current head of – salary would reflect a candidate stepping up
  • Live local to/within 1-hour commute of Chessington / London & Surrounding
  • CMIOSH is desirable.
  • Candidates will be experienced in working with a wide range of public-facing or high-hazard environments
  • Good leadership and management experience with a strong personality. Have proven examples of implementing change across a business. Ability to take the team on the journey from good to great but not micro-manage
  • Proven experience in managing systems and processes.
  • An engaging, clear and concise communicator who ‘gets things done’ with offices based within the Park it is expected this person will interact with Park guests
  • Strong experience working with Microsoft office packages such as Word, Excel & PowerPoint
  • Live local to Chessington as the role is required to be on-site 5 days per week / full time.

Good to know:

  • Role reports to the Health, Safety, and Security Director
  • Varied role, the candidate will be looking at safety in the following areas: Engineering, Ride, Guest, Employee, Zoo, Sealife, Fire, Hotel, Water Park, Fatigue Management, Go Ape and Glamping
  • Role has 2 reports which are H&S Advisors
  • There are exciting plans to develop the park into a resort similar to Alton Towers to include a water park and hotel in addition to a world exclusive on Jumanji Land
  • Candidate is likely to come from a guest-facing or high-hazard industry.
  • Really unique place to work and is based at the theme park so successful candidates can expect to interact with guests / help find problems to solutions / offer a strong guest experience.
  • The role is based inside the park and next to the Zoo with existing employees stating that they thoroughly enjoy being able to interact with animals throughout their working days.
  • Opportunity to play a pivotal role in its defining and development of the role, looking for a candidate who will ‘rip up the rule book’ and implement best-in-practice procedures and processes.
  • The biggest challenges the role represents are innovation (doing things differently from the industry norm and using the data/fact to drive change within the business). We need a strong character who can work with the team/colleagues and superiors to inspire, encourage and cajole change yet not be afraid to have hard conversations where needed.
  • With attendance numbers of 1.69 million customers pre covid, Chessington has returned to full capacity.
  • his role will require walking the park with a Lanyard on and interacting with guests – a world-class customer experience is required at all times.
  • There is a lot happening at any one time, circumstances can change quickly sometimes hourly and one of the challenges in this role is the ability to spin several plates at once.
  • Candidates are likely to live within 1-hour commutable distance of Chessington due to the role needing to have a full-time site presence
  • There will be a 2 stage interview process, on-site competency-based for stage 1 (4 candidates) and face-to-face for the final stage (2 candidates) which will include a site tour, presentation and formal interview with Chessington HSS Director and Group HSS Director. Interview dates are already pre-booked for late March.
  • We have an organisational chart and role profile available for candidates to review upon request.
  • This role averages 40 hours per week and will include ad hoc weekends (1 in every 4 on average), evenings and bank holidays working as required by the business.


  • Base Salary Banding: Low of £55k, Mid of £60k and top end of £65k (depending on experience)
  • Annual Salary Reviews
  • Private Healthcare
  • 25 days Holiday + 8 Statutory
  • 4% Pension matched contributions
  • Business Expenses Covered
  • Employee Assistance Plan
  • Life Assurance x 4 Salary
  • Sick Pay
  • Bonus up to 17.5%


We strive to ensure we offer our employees a great place to work. Alongside a fun and friendly environment, a competitive annual salary and 33 days holiday (including bank holidays) you can look forward to enjoying a great benefits package including a Group Personal Pension Plan, Private Medical Healthcare, Life Assurance, Employee Assistance Programme, and of course a Merlin Magic Pass which gives you and your friends and family free admission to all of our attractions worldwide, as well as 25% discount in our retail shops and restaurants and 40% discount on LEGO, and much more! Perhaps the biggest benefit of joining us, however, is the outstanding opportunities for career development across the expanding group.

Likely Job Titles:

HSE Manager, Head of HS, QHSE Manager, Head of HSE, HS Director

Executive Search Delivery Team:

  • Lavinia Munteanu – Executive Assistant (Coordination)
  • Oliver Nunn – Research Manager (Research, Search & Selection)
  • Dan Taylor – Director of Executive Search (Search Director & Assignment Advisory)

About Ford & Stanley Executive Search:

At Ford & Stanley Executive Search we go beyond a recruiting transaction with our core mission being that of every interaction we have with clients and candidates is best in class. We are select in the opportunities we represent, as such, work under strict exclusivity or retained agreements with forward thinking and proactive Rail companies that place their trust in our ability to deliver a winning shortlist at the first time of asking.

Our Search Directors (who are themselves members of the F&S Group Board) and in house research team invest time at the front end of process with our client’s leadership team or stakeholders to consult, understand the opportunity inherent within the role, business need, map and agree timescales with supporting delivery plan well in advance of conducting the search.

All candidates both active and passive (head-hunted) can expect full and professional engagement from the Executive Search team in addition a timely, thorough and engaging recruitment process from a committed employer that seeks to secure ‘cream of the crop’ from a busy and noisy Global Rail candidate market.

Ford & Stanley Group Ltd is committed to a policy of equal opportunities for all opportunity seekers and approach all opportunity with a mindset of who is right for the job irrespective sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, age, disability, colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief or political beliefs and we place an obligation upon all staff to respect and act in accordance with the policy. We shall adhere to such a policy at all times and will review on an on-going basis all aspects of recruitment to avoid unlawful or undesirable discrimination