BMF launches Safety Plus for merchants

Published:  16 April, 2013

The Builders’ Merchants Federation (BMF) has partnered with Southall Associates to offer members a radically different health and safety business support service, which has been developed specifically for builders’ merchants.

The new Safety Plus service comprises two key elements:

  • A bespoke consultancy service, which includes an initial assessment, tailored health and safety policy documents, risk assessments and staff handbooks, a six-monthly safety audit and ongoing advice and support
  • An online safety management system, which banishes mountains of paperwork and enables merchants to easily and quickly manage health and safety at every branch.

BMF managing director John Newcomb said: “The introduction of Safety Plus is the start of an ongoing drive by the BMF to review the business services we currently offer and to bring new services to members. It goes without saying that we are seeking out the very best services available and we are delighted to be working with Southall Associates.”

Southall Associates was founded in 2004 by John Southall, a former environmental health officer, who realised that builders’ merchants were one of the top three business types to fall foul of health and safety law. He used his understanding of the enforcement process to develop software that put the merchant in charge of health and safety. The system has been adopted by over 100 builders’ merchants and has a 100 percent retention record – Southall Associates has never lost a merchant customer.

Mr Southall said: “Safety Plus has been designed with ease of use and efficiency in mind. The consultancy element ensures that the service is fully tailored for every business, while the online system Safety Cloud delivers a full audit trail and enables the chief executive or business owner to delegate responsibility. The online system is not only a store for all health and safety documentation and statutory records, it provides access to e-learning training and even sends email reminders when tasks are due.”

This element of the service proved extremely attractive to Lawson’s, the London-based independent timber and builders’ merchant. Said managing director Joe Inzani: “The online system was a major factor in our recent review of health and safety advisers and is perfectly tailored towards our business. Our branch managers have found it simple and easy to use. They particularly like the way the system generates email reminders for maintenance jobs and staff training, which is proving to be invaluable.”

Commenting on BMF’s latest partnership, Mr Newcomb said: “Safety Plus has a 10-year investment in software developed specifically for our industry and is currently used by many National Buying Group (NBG) members. We are now able to provide the same proven system to all BMF members including those associated with other buying groups, independents and nationals.

“The BMF will continue to support members using our existing SafetyFirst service. However, members will also have the opportunity to transfer to Safety Plus at the end of their current agreement, should they wish.”

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