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Local business Signs Express (Gateshead) has been awarded accreditation from Safecontractor for its commitment to achieving excellence in health and safety.

Safecontractor is a leading third party accreditation scheme which recognises very high standards in health and safety management amongst UK contractors. Signs Express (Gateshead) is involved in the design, manufacture & installation of a wide range of signage. Some of their most recent clients have included major local companies such as Tyne and wear fire service, Radisson Hotel Durham, Gateshead College and Novotel. Company director Malcolm Lant, said 'Achieving Safe Contractor accreditation was important to us as it demonstrates to our customers that we both take health & safety seriously and have independently accredited procedures in place, providing reassurance to them of our expertise.' Safecontractor accreditation will enhance the company's ability to attract new contracts and its commitment to safety will be viewed positively by its insurers when the company liability policy is up for renewal. Safecontractor is applicable to most sectors although it is particularly relevant to food manufacture, property, facilities management, retail and leisure sectors, all of which are big users of contracted services. John Kinge, technical director of Safecontractor said, "Major organisations simply cannot afford to run the risk of employing contractors who are not able to prove that they have sound health and safety policies in place." "More companies need to understand the importance of adopting good risk management in the way that Signs Express (Gateshead) has done. The firm's high standard has set an example which hopefully will be followed by other companies within the sector. Safecontractor plays a vital role in supporting our clients in meeting their compliance needs, whilst working with their contractors as they progress through the accreditation process.' Under the Safecontractor scheme, businesses undergo a vetting process which examines health and safety procedures and their track record for safe practice. Those companies meeting the high standard are included on a database, which is accessible to registered users only via a website. Client-organisations who sign up to the scheme can access the database, enabling them to vet potential contractors before they even set foot on site. These clients agree that, as users of the scheme, they will engage only those who have received accreditation. Over 210 major, nation-wide businesses, from several key sectors, have signed up to use the scheme when selecting contractors for services such as building, cleaning, maintenance, refurbishment or electrical and mechanical work.

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