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Workplace Health and Safety Innovator wins Investment from The Capital Fund


Optima Diagnostics, the fast-growing supplier of user-friendly web-based health and safety management tools, has attracted £275,000 of funding, in a round led by The Capital Fund, a £50 million venture capital fund that invests in fast-growth companies in Greater London, who co-invested with business angel investors.

Founded by Paul Blundell and Chris Malins in 2000, Optima has devised and engineered the Wellworker® suite of web-based tools, a sophisticated software system that manages and monitors workplace health and safety issues within corporate and public sector environments.

Optima has developed the Wellworker® tool for many clients across a number of sectors. A prototype corporate health and safety product was piloted, tested and refined with the company’s first customers – BAE Systems, Airbus UK and RO Defence – in 2002 and 2003. Since then, other companies that have benefited from making Wellworker® part of their health and safety strategy include GB Oils, Polestar Group, The Scotsman and Wavin Plastics. Optima’s public sector clients include The British Library, London Borough of Hillingdon, London South Bank University, Nottinghamshire County Council and Surrey Fire and Rescue.

The key to success was that the Optima team realised there was a significant niche for interactive web-based health and safety products that could be used and understood by all operational staff not just health and safety specialists.

Chris Malins, Client Services Director of Optima, said: “Our Wellworker® tool takes full advantage of the Internet, which has been a real competitive advantage when it comes to winning clients. Using a simple web browser, staff can access software that uses structured processes to guide them through a variety of health and safety tasks from risk assessments to accident reporting, including prompting staff, where appropriate, to report injury, disease or dangerous occurrence information to the Health & Safety Executive. And, importantly, the set-up and maintenance of web-based systems is fast and very cost-effective – conventional health and safety software packages usually need to be installed by specialist IT staff and present significant ongoing maintenance hurdles.”

Paul Blundell, Managing Director of Optima, said: “There is no doubt as to the potential of the internet to be used as an internal management tool within the armoury of those seeking to manage health and safety more effectively. One of the most significant obstacles to improving an organisation’s safety culture can be the burden of the traditional paper-laden world – mounds of paper-based information can mean that important health and safety indicators are ‘hidden’ from key decision makers. Clearly, the basis of achieving real health and safety improvement is about managing information better. And that’s where Wellworker® comes in.”

Since developing Wellworker®, Optima has focused on opening up new markets for the product. Specifically, Optima has been targeting organisations within the UK with more than 100 employees and an in-house health and safety department. As there are more than 19,000 such organisations, the expansion potential for the company is significant.

Moreover, research by the Health and Safety Executive indicates that little more than 10% of these target organisations currently have electronic systems to help manage health and safety activities. Optima’s own investigation suggests that, over the coming four years, more than 3,000 businesses will be seeking to implement a software-based health and safety system.

Mr Blundell said: “This is why we are delighted to have attracted the funding from The Capital Fund. The investment will mean that we can further strengthen our technical team, expand our marketing efforts and develop new modules of Wellworker® for many more clients.”

Helen Reynolds, Investment Manager at The Capital Fund, said: “This is just the sort of innovative company tha


Publisher Contact Information:

The Capital Fund
+44 (0)1865 811199
m.henry@oxin.co.uk

Company profile of The Capital Fund
Past press releases of The Capital Fund.

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