Former HSE Principal Inspector takes up top health and safety job at MPA

The Mineral Products Association (MPA) has appointed former HM Principal Inspector Colin Mew as its new Head of Health and Safety.

After a career spanning almost three decades with the Health and Safety Executive, plus a stint as an advisor to MPA over the past 18 months, Colin took up his new full-time role on 1st August 2023. He is tasked with accelerating the delivery of MPA’s ‘Vision Zero’ strategy to eliminate the causes of ‘The Fatal 6’ high-consequence health and safety hazards in the mineral products sector.

Reporting directly to MPA Chief Executive Jon Prichard, Colin takes over the reins from Chris Leese, a former Vice-President of Cemex who has led the MPA’s health and safety strategy for the past four years, including the conception and industry-wide roll-out of Vision Zero.

Jon Prichard said: “During the past decade the mineral products sector has overall improved its health and safety track record and adopted a leading position in promoting the sharing of good practice, but we continue to face significant challenges on our journey towards Vision Zero.

“We are therefore fortunate to have someone as experienced as Colin joining MPA with a wealth of expertise drawn from his long-standing association with mineral products and other heavy industries such as iron and steel. He has been involved with every aspect of health and safety, from major accident investigation work to shaping policy to engaging with stakeholders to achieve positive outcomes. I would like to thank Chris Leese for his leadership over the past few years and his ongoing support as we refocus our efforts to help keep people safe and well.”

After studying quarrying at Doncaster College / Leeds University to degree level, Colin worked in a number of managerial positions in the industry before joining HSE in 1993 as HM Inspector of Quarries. In 2009 he was permanently promoted to Principal Inspector which included the role of Chief Inspector of Quarries where he has led a team of Inspectors responsible for regulating health and safety in quarries across Britain.

Colin Mew said: “MPA stands out as the authoritative voice of the mineral products industry, and I have enjoyed a close association with MPA and its members for many years. Throughout that time, I have observed the collective determination of the sector to make workplaces safe and healthy. Taking on this new role is a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with MPA members and other stakeholders to work towards Vision Zero where everyone goes home safe and well, every day.

“MPA has health and safety as a strategic priority and core value and so visibly supports and celebrates innovation and excellence in this area. After 18 months working with MPA in an advisory capacity, I’m really looking forward to getting hands-on to build on the good work that has already been done. I feel privileged to be in a position to bring my insight into the regulator together with learnings from some unique experiences over my career.”

Besides leading the MPA’s Vision Zero campaign and associated ‘Clear Simple Smart’ resources, Chris Leese oversaw the relaunch of Safequarry.com, a unique hub for all things health and safety in the mineral products industry. He also forged MPA’s partnership with MPQC (Mineral Products Qualifications Council) in the development of MP Connect, an integrated safety competency card scheme for the industry’s drivers and contractors. Chris will continue to provide guidance and support as a Special Advisor on health and safety (in tandem with his role as Chair of UK Concrete).

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