A&S Contractors (NW) Ltd 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.

Employing 50 people, A&S is principally involved in the reactive maintenance and customer care sectors, specialising in the multi-trade and after-case industries and with a £2.5 million turnover.

A&S clients include major players such as Bovis Homes, Redrow Homes, Countryside Properties, B&M Bargains and Scottish Power.

The company's application for Safecontractor accreditation was driven by the need for a uniform standard across the business.

"We are delighted to continue our accreditation with Safecontractor - continually having to adapt our Health & Safety provision as the company continues its significant growth a challenging yet rewarding element of our business," says managing director Sean Coldrick. "We are proud that we more than meet the criteria of this and other similar industry benchmarks."

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 relevent to food manufacture, property, facilities management, the retail and leisure sectors, all of which are big users of contracted services.

John Kinge, technical director of Safecontractor, says: "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 A&S Contractors (NW) has done. The firm's high standard has set an example which hopefully will be followed by other companies in 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 prcess 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 acceditation.

Over 210 major nationwide 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.