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Manufacturers dominate safety trade show despite downturn

Manufacturers represented one in three of the 10,290 visits to Victoria’s big occupational health and safety trade shows, Safety In Action and Melbourne Materials Handling, together with the Carbon Reduction & Trading Expo earlier this month, proving that industry is still vibrant amid the downturn.

Show organiser Marie Kinsella of Australian Exhibitions & Conferences said she was delighted with the attendance figures and that exhibitors reported an unprecedented readiness of visitors to buy.

“In all, total visits were down by about 10 per cent on last year,” Ms Kinsella said. “Given the state of the economy, this is a remarkable turnout that, if anything, seems to have worked in the favour of many exhibitors. There were fewer browsers and more visitors intent on finding the right answers to their safety problems,” she said.

Exhibitor, Jennifer Joy of Wrightway Products said her company’s bin lifters and waste bins drew the attention of highly qualified prospects from industries spanning building and construction through to education.

“The people who came to see us at Safety In Action wanted to solve problems they’d identified in their workplaces and we were able to help them do that,” Joy said.

“What we didn’t see were employees on a day out. There were a lot of very interested visitors from big business and government. This really was an extraordinary show.”

Long-time Safety In Action exhibitor, Chris Brennan of Reflective Fabrications, said the 2009 show was particularly successful.

“We’ve exhibited at 10 safety shows and this is the best we’ve ever had,” Brennan said.

“There were around 200 per cent more enquiries than in Melbourne last time and the quality of our leads was as good, if not better,” he said.

The manufacturing sector dominated attendance figures, representing around one in three visitors, while government visitors accounted for another 13 per cent of visits. The building and construction sector was also strong, represented by almost 13 per cent of visitors, while warehousing and logistics fielded 10 per cent.

Visitors saw three acres of safety solutions to diverse occupational health and safety challenges, including height safety, lifting and loading, logistics, rehabilitation, ergonomics, asbestos management, first aid, electronics, flooring, machine guarding, and even workplace wellness.

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