Australia seems to have more OHS conference now than ever before. The growth in annual conferences seems odd in a country with such a small comparative population but perhaps because the population is spread so much and there is such a strong resource sector, perhaps it is understandable.
SafetyAtWorkBlog put some questions about the phenomenon to Marie Kinsella, the Managing Director of Australian Exhibitions & Conferences, a major provider of these conferences and trade exhibitions in Australia. Some of her responses are below.
Has the recent global finance crisis made it more difficult for AEC to attract stallholders?
“The shows’ exhibitors have not been immune from the GFC, particularly those with international head offices, and some regulars were forced to reduce the size of their stands. In an encouraging sign for the safety industry, however, we have had to turn away exhibitors in some categories and this year’s Safety In Action and Melbourne Materials Handling shows will be just as big as in previous years, with many exhibitors debuting this year.”
Given that the Safety In Action trade show is about safety, who sets and verifies the safety credentials and qualifications of those who build the stands in the exhibition space?
AEC has a standard OHS policy & procedure that require all successfully tender applicant suppliers to meet before their services are engaged – this qualifies the suppliers for 1 year and is reassessed each year.
The major venues (MCEC, SCEC, BCEC, PCEC) play a large part in setting regulations relating to OHS as well.”
If AEC had unlimited funds what feature or innovation would AEC love to include in Safety In Action Trade Show?
“A huge demonstration linking all the exhibitors in a massive simulated worksite. The logistics would be mind-boggling!”
The number of OHS exhibitions run in Australia each year has increased substantially, and in size. Has this expansion similarly expanded the number of OHS exhibitors or has the duplication cannibalised the sector?
“We did ask ourselves that question before establishing the Queensland and WA Safety Shows but, ultimately, visitors from those states demanded to meet exhibitors who could provide local service. They’re big states with big construction and mining sectors that take OHS very seriously and deserve the support of the safety industry. Many exhibitors do participate in each show because they have a national presence but there’s also a large contingent unique to each state.”
SafetyAtWorkBlog hopes to be able to interview some of the exhibitors at the Safety In Action Trade Show about the OHS implications and innovations of their products and services during late April 2010. Some press releases on new products available at the Safety In Action 2010 trade show are available through Firefly Marketing.
Trade shows and exhibitions seem anachronistic in this world of websites and digital promotions but it seems that safety people, at least, want to see, touch and discuss control options. Perhaps this is part of the risk assessment process that safety professionals advocate to their clients.