Back to business 

Back to business 

Last year’s A-OSH Expo was a resounding success as the world reopened after the pandemic. This year’s event continued this trend, and people were more engaged as everyone got back to business.

Running from 6 to 8 June at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, the excitement was electric at this year’s A-OSH Expo, as the show floor was still booming with business and networking until the last hours of the final day.

Bernard Mohlaka, brand manager at Select PPE, was once again delighted with the organisation of the show. “We’ve recently introduced an outdoor range, for hunting for example, and we’re getting great traction and enquiries about it,” he said. 

Willem Liebenberg, head of marketing safety at Dräger South Africa, added that this year’s A-OSH Expo showed that things are getting back to basics and business as usual again, noting: “We got to speak to all of our distributors and end customers directly.”

A-OSH Expo was co-located with the 30-year-old Securex exhibition, the established Facilities Management Expo, and the recently launched Firexpo. This allowed visitors to source a wide range of safety and security solutions from exhibitors at all four expos, all under one roof, explained Mark Anderson. The portfolio director at show organiser Specialised Exhibitions, a division of the Montgomery Group, added: “The time and cost-saving benefits are clear.” 

In addition to the thousands of products and technologies on display at the four co-located shows, A-OSH Expo visitors benefited from the free-to-attend Saiosh seminar theatre and Working at Height theatre. “There is always something interesting to learn from the seminar theatres,” said Mathew Goncalves, co-founder and head of research and development at Amber Safety – the subscription-based, health and safety communication software. “They speak there about quite a lot of different things that you won’t necessarily learn in a textbook, and it sparks something new in your brain, really giving you good practical tips on the ground,” he emphasised.

Lindy Scott, founder and creative director at Amber, added that people were far more engaged at this year’s show, as they looked for good business solutions. “We all know that the economy is going crazy, but we still need to keep our people safe. We found that, regardless of what is happening around the world, people have stayed focused and want to find the best solutions for their people,” said Scott.

“There has also been a really positive uptake on Amber, especially with the upskilling section that we introduced for upskilling safety professionals on non-technical skills, such as creative and cultural skills. This new feature has gotten a lot of interest,” she continued.

The protective workwear brand Sweet-Orr joined the expo for the first time this year. “We came upon A-OSH when our director, Denver Berman-Jacob, was in Johannesburg last year, and visited the show as an attendee to see the potential and possibilities at the show,” explained Brandon White, Sweet-Orr’s head of channels. “The leads that are generated at A-OSH are of real quality, as it attracts the right kind of audience: health and safety officers, SHEQ managers – people that we can engage with and take the conversation further. It has been a good show, well run and well executed.” 

The company highlighted its recently launched boots at the show. “Our core business is protective workwear. We realised that, in terms of the head-to-toe solution, a lot of the PPE budget goes to footwear – so we’ve launched a Fortes safety boot and a Chelsea boot. These two styles fit our portfolio,” explained White.

Both boots have a full-grain leather upper, oil resistant outer sole, thicker heel for great shock absorption, an antistatic innersole, an inner steel plate that can withstand 1,100N, and a steel toecap with the ability to withstand 200J of force. 

Sweet-Orr wasn’t the only exhibitor that had a new product on its stand, as Wing Safety Manufacturers launched its Paratrooper flame- and acid-resistant garment, which is lighter than similar offerings on the market.

“We reduced the fabric’s weight for more ergonomics and comfort, to 250 g/m2. With this offering you can still have adequate protection in warmer weather,” explained Roland Singh, Wing Safety’s managing member. “We’ve also made the garment antistatic and zero metal. So, if someone works in a smelter, for example, and has to go through a scanner, you want the garment to be undetected but the scanner to highlight any metals that have been removed from a site.”

The company has also added some extra accessories to the Paratrooper, such as a radio loop and gas detection pouch, enabling the wearer to add all of their utilities onto the suit. “One of the reasons that we’ve come to this year’s A-OSH Expo is to see which sectors and countries we could focus and target this on,” Singh pointed out.

Another service that Wing Safety highlighted is that it doesn’t manufacture stock standard items, and has the ability to customise its garments. “We could produce workwear for a client that exactly matches the company’s corporate wear, for example. Very few manufacturers are flexible enough to do that. We can tailor make what they want for our clients,” Singh explained.

“We also have a bulk and express production line, which means we can do smaller quantities on our express line. This eliminates the need for a client to order a minimum quantity of something before we can produce it. We can accommodate large and smaller companies,” he added.

With the success of this year’s show, it’s no wonder that the exhibitors are already excited for next year’s expo. Liebenberg said Dräger South Africa is looking forward to next year, while Mohlaka said that Select PPE certainly won’t miss it either: “We’re here every year. A-OSH Expo provides great exposure.”

Paul Cook, director of SHEilds, one of the largest providers of NEBOSH courses globally, reiterated this: “A-OSH Expo gives us more exposure in South Africa. It gets our name and brand out there.”

Scott summarised everything perfectly: “Well done to everyone involved. It is really great to see so many people and businesses dedicated to keeping our continent safe.”

Be sure to join next year’s expo, which will run from 28 to 30 May 2024 at the same venue.

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