NSC 2009: Headlines and Optimism Return

There's no doubt the weak economy depressed attendance at this year's National Safety Congress & Expo, which took place Oct. 25-30 in Orlando, its expo running from Oct. 26 through Oct. 28. The aisles were almost empty on Wednesday, restaurant and carry-out food lines were short, and hotels were quick to make deals if you wanted to book a few rooms at the last minute.

This report sounds bleak, if you're a PPE manufacturer or service provider, and the third-quarter financials released by some of the largest in the past few weeks haven't been robust. But the exhibitors were in a good mood nonetheless. (Some still would prefer to see the Congress & Expo held in alternate years, as the bigger A+A show is in Germany, but this has been suggested for years.) Many companies were launching new products again at this show, and they said their sales are improving as they head into 2010.

What new offerings were on display? Defibtech and Cintas demonstrated a compact AED with a viewscreen that shows how to perform CPR and defibrillation with illustrations and text. BW Technologies by Honeywell touted its new GasAlert Quattro, a four-gas monitor with a flashing green signal to alert the wearer and those nearby that it is in proper operating mode. Miller Electric introduced a PAPR, the Coolbelt and Coolband cooling systems for welders, and its Titanium series of welding helmets. Superior Manufacturing Group showcased RedStop™, a coating applied to the underside of its NoTrax® floor mats to increase friction between the mat and a smooth floor surface so the mat won't slide. Capital Safety was demonstrating the ExoFit NEX™, a complete redesign and upgrade of its popular ExoFit fall harness introduced about 10 years ago. Pure Safety brought to the expo its new Learning and Safety Management System, a Software as a Service platform to help users automate administrative tasks and track and report important safety and training information. New gloves, training products, monitors, and PPE of all types--high-vis apparel in particular--were on display.

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