The opening of the Safety & Health Expo looked promising from the outset. A huge crowd speaking in a babble of tongues had assembled by 9.55am on Tuesday 12th May, eager to sample the delights of over 300 exhibition stands.
There were plenty of other temptations, too. New to the show was the Product & Innovation Hub, set up to display the most innovative and original products and services in the industry.
The new SHP Arena in the middle of Hall 2 also provided three days of presentations from acknowledged authorities in the health and safety field. That’s not even mentioning the RoSPA high ropes course, which challenged brave visitors to test their skills in a variety of challenges 13 metres up!
So what new products were on show? director-e has picked a fistful of innovations from new and established companies for you to sink your teeth into.
3M proved that its PPE repertoire was more than just the sum of its well-known brands Thinsulate and Scotchlite. On the contrary, there was an array of new products on show including ear plugs, safety goggles, welding shields and respirators.
3M, which moved into protective coveralls in 2006, was also presenting its newest addition – the lightweight 4520 Protective Coverall, made from the latest breathable material technology. A CE Category III, type 5/6 protective garment, the 4520 material has been specially designed to maximise breathability and air flow while providing excellent protection against dust and liquid chemical splash.
Meeting standard EN1073-2, other features include an elasticated hood, waist, cuffs and ankles for convenience and freedom of movement. Typical applications include light duty maintenance, asbestos handling, abattoirs/farming and construction work.
UK engineering company Semmco had their new HEAD15 Cell Snatch Rescue Equipment (CSRE) taking pride of place on their stand. The Woking-based company had announced only the previous month that they had beaten off competitors to supply the product to the UK and Irish Prison services.
Manufactured entirely in the UK, Semmco’s HEAD 15 chemical oxygen set gives prison staff 15 minutes of respiratory protection when dealing with cell fire incidents. The lightweight, hooded oxygen set replaces the short duration breathing apparatus (SDBA) that has been used across the prison services for the past 15 years.
Its main advantages are that is it easier to use and can be stored for up to nine years without maintenance. An integral warning system also notifies the wearer several minutes before it expires.
Stuart McOnie, founder of Semmco, said that having the product manufactured in the UK has been essential for the company: “As a company, we firmly believe in the quality and professionalism of UK manufacturing and the importance of not losing the essential professionalism and skills that we have in this country.”
The show saw the European launch of eye-safety goggles SAFE-EYES®. Originally developed for the New Zealand forestry industry, SAFE-EYES® are now being distributed throughout Europe by Rock Croft Limited.
It’s claimed that SAFE-EYES® will not fog up, no matter how arduous the work or the weather. This is down to the innovative replacement of the usual plastic lens with a very fine stainless steel mesh, set in an injection-moulded rubber surround that protects the eyes while allowing the circulation of air.
Other benefits include a high resistance to scratching, robustness and, due to their close-fitting design, excellent peripheral vision.
Experienced silviculturist Phil Hall began developing the product five years ago in New Zealand, frustrated with the products that were available at that time. He found that the visors were “too far away from your face so the wind could blow particles up underneath the visor and into your face. Water also sits on the mesh and affects visibility”.
Today, the product is compliant with EN 1731:2006 and can be used in any application where there is a risk of vision impairment due to glasses or goggles fogging in hot, humid conditions, for example agriculture, rail maintenance, mining, tunnelling and quarrying.
Another product entering the UK market from down under is the safety footwear brand Blue Steel from Footwear Industries. Since entering the Australian market in 1995, it has built up a solid reputation based partly on its patented Trisole Comfort Technology soling system and 30-day money-back Comfort Guarantee.
To maximise its impact on the European market, a new range was being showcased: Steel Blue™ High Impact Polymer Alloy (Hi-PA™). Completely non-metallic, the Steel Blue Hi-PA range has no steel toe-cap or steel eyelets to set off metal security detectors or cause sparks around flammable or explosive materials.
In addition to Steel Blue's trisole™ Comfort Technology (TCT™) cushioning soling system, the Hi-PA range features OrthoLite® sports shoe footbeds to cradle and support the whole foot and Outlast® temperature-regulating technology inside to help keep feet comfortable in hot or cold weather. Hi-PA non-metallic safety toe-caps all comply with European safety footwear standard EN ISO 20345.
A leader in workwear and PPE solutions, WL Gore were showing a wide range of GORE-TEX® footwear and technical garments made from GORE-TEX® fabrics with anti-static technology and GORE-TEX® heat and flame fabrics with anti-static technology.
The biggest news from the Gore stand, however, was that it has teamed up with undecorated apparel supplier Russell Europe to produce a jacket for the corporatewear market.
Gore Associate Henrietta Bryan said: “This is an exciting development for us as it’s our first venture into corporatewear and the first time that we have produced a non-branded product.”
The 550M/F GORE-TEX® jacket is aimed at those looking for a high-performance, contemporary-looking retail jacket without the high end costs. Available in male and female styles, the jacket is completely waterproof and breathable to GORE-TEX® fabric standards.
It also has adjustable cuffs, keeping cold or wet from entering, and articulated elbows, delivering optimised freedom of movement and comfort. A zip off, roll away hood also protects against all the elements.