Cash injection will help work safety advisers to meet growing demand

A Rotherham firm that helps employers to reduce work-related ill health has secured a £125,000 loan from NPIF – Mercia Debt Finance, which is managed by Mercia and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

The funding will enable Workplace Scientifics to invest in new equipment and meet the growing demand for its occupational hygiene services. The company – which advises on ways to mitigate workplace hazards such as noise, vibration, hazardous substances and chemicals – was founded in 2020 by entrepreneurs Dave Lombardi and Thomas Wood, who have a background in the industry.

They set out to deliver services in a different way, offering ongoing support to help employers improve safety, in addition to providing one-off assessments. The company now employs a team of eight and serves a growing list of clients including Masonite, Magnet, Howmet Airspace, Severfield and Phillips 66. The funding will enable it to create three new jobs over the next six months and provide additional working capital to take on new contracts.

Thomas Wood believes companies are increasingly seeing the value in taking a pro-active approach to health at work. “Authorities are taking a tougher stance on worker health protection. Breaching the rules can cost millions, but perhaps more importantly, attitudes are changing. Organisations are taking worker health more seriously and understanding their moral duties to create safer working environments,” he explains.

“As occupational hygiene practitioners, we not only help employers to identify hazards that might otherwise go unnoticed, but also situations where they are taking unnecessary precautions, which can be wasteful and costly. For example, we visited one business where the workers had worn disposable ear defenders for years, which was uncomfortable and created lots of plastic waste. We were able to find ways to reduce the factory noise to a level where hearing protection was no longer required.  Each company is different and it is about having the right measures in place.”

Andy Tyas of Mercia said: “Employers increasingly recognise the value of good working practices in safeguarding their reputation and the health of their workforce, and reducing absence and staff turnover. Dave and Thomas are passionate about delivering a high-quality, expert service. The business has gained rapid traction since its launch and its services are in growing demand. This funding will help them to invest in new equipment and expand the team to support its continued growth.”

Keira Shepperson, Director at British Business Bank: “There is an increasing number of entrepreneurs creating proactive solutions, and this business has identified a niche segment in the market to improve occupational safety. The loan will unlock the team’s capability to provide more of its expertise, making a valuable contribution to improving health and safety in the workplace.”

Julia Wilkinson of Funding Round provided fundraising advice to the company.

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.