A-OSH, new forums dominate discussion
Published: 9th Oct 2019
SAPEMA KZN Regional Meeting, October 2
Durban, KZN, SA - Foreign exhibitors at A-OSH were a major topic at SAPEMA's KZN regional meeting. Chaired by Clyde Beattie of Uvex, who is also SAPEMA's national vice-chairman, just 5 people, representing 4 of SAPEMA's 16 KZN members, attended.
SAPEMA is in discussions with Specialised Exhibitions, organiser of the A-OSH fair, over the participation of exhibitors from China, Taiwan and Pakistan. Its concerns are that some of the exhibitors exhibited products that weren't properly marked in terms of domestic legislation governing PPE, and also that some of them canvassed other exhibitors to carry their product ranges.
SAPEMA has asked Specialised Exhibitions to put in place a minimum vetting process for foreign exhibitors, and the fair organiser has asked SAPEMA to draw up a vetting form.
SAPEMA's view is that all exhibitors - local and foreign, SAPEMA members and non-members - should comply with the vetting process, because the goal is to prevent non-compliant exhibitors, not to prevent foreign competition.
The vetting process would also require exhibitors to abide by a code of conduct which would prevent them from canvassing other exhibitors during the exhibition.
Beattie said SAPEMA understood that Specialised Exhibitions had to make economic decisions, but that SAPEMA wanted to ensure that all products on display were compliant with legislation.
Next year SAPEMA will again have 40% of the 'theatre' at A-OSH, where lectures and demonstrations are held. The theatre space is paid for by the SA Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (SAIOSH), but it and SAPEMA will share the space and the responsibility for finding speakers for the theatre.
The theatre has been a successful innovation at the show, he said, with visitor numbers in 2019 up on 2018.
Forums and Technical Committees
SAPEMA is creating national 'forums', which will report to the SAPEMA executive committee (Exco), to encourage greater participation by members which will help it to drive topics to the various arms of government.
There are 8 PPE category forums, covering eye and face, fall, head, foot, hand, respiratory, and hearing protection, and safety clothing/work wear. They are not aimed at specific brands, "but rather to achieve mutual goals that are beneficial to end users, distributors and manufacturers" in that category", according to a discussion document tabled at the meeting.
3 other forums cover membership, marketing and admin.
The forums "are there to provide a neutral platform for all members to engage, discuss or debate specific topics of interest/concern relating to that category", according to the document.
The forums must have at least 2 meetings a year.
The technical forums will work with the SA Bureau of Standards' (SABS) technical committees (TCs) to update SAPEMA's PPE technical handbooks. They will also be responsible for co-ordinating future training and education for SAPEMA members, and ultimately for PPE end users.
At the same time, SAPEMA members on the SABS PPE technical committees have decided to consolidate the various TCs into a single entity to be known as Personal Safety TC1194.
` The various TCs cover the same product categories as the forums, and Beattie said it was intended that the SABS would be invited into the forums together with other members of industry and possibly to also include key end-users.
Beattie said SAPEMA was keen to build its brand through various functions involving end users and other interested parties.
An idea is to host business breakfasts with keynote speakers.
He said topics which would draw an audience included changes to legislation affecting PPE, health & safety and labour, gender-based issues, and what was being done to stimulate various industrial sectors. "It needs to pull people," he said. "It doesn't have to be directly related to PPE. There can be a bit of punt for SAPEMA."
He said the Western Cape region planned a breakfast in February next year, and the inland region for November. KZN had to come up with its own date and ideas.
Describing it as "a touchy subject", Beattie said SAPEMA needed "a robust set of criteria for membership", and that the Exco would draw up a list which would be circulated to the regions for discussion. "Currently the criteria are a bit loose," he said. "they're not ideal."