Feeling healthy, feeling safe
Specialised Exhibitions and UBM Montgomery, the organisers of the OSH Expo Africa, kept the spirit of the 2014 event in line with what we have come to expect. SHEQ Management was there to take it all in.
Like moths to a flame, each year OSH Expo Africa attracts the brightest and best from the local occupational health and safety (OHS) arena – reeling them in with the promise of the latest and greatest from the industry, and keeping them mesmerised by delivering exactly that. It’s little surprise then, that this fourth instalment of the show attracted over 1 900 individual visitors between May 13 and 15.
And these aren’t just any visitors, either. Everyone, from private health and safety professionals to company CEOs and members of local government institutions, attends the expo every year. Traditionally held at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, Gauteng, and co-located with the IFSEC Fire and Security show, OSH Expo Africa is considered to be the largest exhibition of its kind on the African continent. The 2014 show attracted slightly fewer exhibitors than last year – 72 to be exact.
Nevertheless, the new and regular exhibitors who were at this year’s show, took full advantage of the platform to interact with potential clients and find out what is new on the market.
“A number of exhibitors have set their sights on expanding their base into other Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, so the presence of a number of African visitors to the exhibition was extremely encouraging,” says Joshua Low, Specialised Exhibitions event organiser. “Exhibitors commented that the calibre of visitors from South Africa and its neighbours had improved since the 2013 event, which bodes well for the upliftment of the occupational health and safety supplier market.”
London-based RRC International Training and Consultancy, made a return to the South African market after a few years’ absence, and hosted its first exhibition at OSH Expo Africa. David Towlson, director of training and quality, was suitably impressed. “The main expo is in London, and we’re a regular there, but OSH Expo Africa has a great range of people, products and providers present,” he says.
Towlson notes that RRC is entering the local scene with a wide-ranging, accredited e-learning platform. “General training is all very well, but there’s nothing like making it relevant to the individual organisation. Course material is accessible through the web, and we have tutors online all the time. Local examination centres complete the offering.”
RRC was one of the many training providers present, but the services, product manufacturing and retail sectors were there in force, with some interesting launches taking place at the show, too.
MSA Africa, which has exhibited at the show every year since its inception and makes sure that each of its product managers is present, launched five separate products at the show. These were: the Luminator Cap Lamp, that increases a miner’s ability to detect rock cracks on hanging walls; the Evolution 6000 Thermal Imaging Camera, designed for use by all emergency professionals; the SmartCHECK Testing Bench, a modular, compact and fully automatic test bench for self-contained breathing apparatus; the Gallet F1XF fire helmets; and the Airline Breathing Apparatus.
Bramhope Safety Solutions also launched its innovative cloud-based PPE management system, while Runrite Electronics launched its new and improved doseBadge system from Pulsar Instruments; a self-contained noise measurement device that captures the user’s daily noise exposure levels.
The list of exciting, innovative products on display could fill much of this magazine, but another part of OSH Expo’s recipe to success has always been the variety of educational platforms it offers visitors. This year was no different; with three open, interactive seminars, alongside the Saiosh conference (for which delegates had to pre-book), running throughout the three days.
Emergency Care once again hosted the First Aid Demonstration Zone, which was consistently packed with those eager to learn more about cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), heart attacks, automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and managing fall-from-height patients.
A scary titbit to come from Emergency Care was that one’s chance of surviving a heart attack in South Africa is a mere two percent, due to the fact that our population is not taught basic CPR and that equipment, such as AEDs, is too expensive to be widely available …
The Prefabricated Access Suppliers’ and Manufacturers’ Association (PASMA) again hosted the Working at Height Theatre. A bumper programme of talks, including topics such as Safe Working at Heights and the New Construction Regulations, kept visitors coming.
It was much the same at the Noshebo Seminar Theatre, where speakers covered topics raging from eye, ear and head protection to contingency planning and risk assessment.
OSH Expo Africa 2015 will be held from May 12 to 14, again at the Gallagher Convention Centre. The expo is planned to be relocated to Hall 3, adjacent to the IFSEC show. A better and more collaborative through-flow of traffic is, therefore, expected, benefiting exhibitors from both exhibitions and making it easier for visitors to experience all the sights and sounds.