Starting a New Century

The National Safety Council celebrated its centennial in style, although not without some grumbling from exhibitors, and looked forward to the next chapter in its long history of service and advocacy.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Thousands of attendees and more than 800 exhibitors from companies from around the world, including a bumper crop of Chinese exhibitors, filled part of the West Building at Orlando's Orange County Convention Center for the 2012 National Safety Congress & Expo, making the National Safety Council's "Celebration of the Century" conference a sun-splashed success. NSC and its member companies highlighted safety advancements and innovative products dating from the 1880s to the present, including one of the oldest products -- metal signs that helped operators of lifts at underground mines standardize their horn blasts so everyone would know when a lift was about to be moved.

The council honored its 2012 class of 44 Rising Stars of Safety, individuals under age 40 who were chosen from 160 nominees and were featured in the October 2012 issue of Safety + Health magazine. One of the most significant announcements during the event may have been the launch of the Campbell Institute, described by the council as "a natural progression of the international Robert W. Campbell Award." The institute will be a resource center sharing the experience and knowledge of Campbell Award winners, and its first chairman is Mike Gambrell, advisor to the chairman and CEO of Dow Chemical Co.

Along with packed general sessions and educational presentation rooms, the conference featured the latest products in occupational health and safety from exhibitors near and far. "[Our technology] first came out for earphones, but we've adapted them and are launching them at NSC as hearing protection," Elora Meyers, marketing coordinator at Sonomax, a Canadian company that is applying its custom-fit ear pieces that can be used on the job to protect wearers' hearing.

Honeywell Safety Products debuted the Miller AirCoreTM Harness, a fall harness with breathable, open-core padding technology, and a Miller Fall Clearance Calculator and Miller MightyLiteTM Leading Edge Self-Retracting Lifeline. Also showcased by HSP at this event were the Uvex Carbonvision wide-view safety goggle; the Honeywell Eyelation program to make prescription eyewear management easier; lower-profile respiratory cartridges by North; and Oliver brand work boots.

Ergodyne's staffers stayed busy in their booth, as always. They showed off the new Arsenal 5510 Industrial MOLLE Vest that allows wearers to tether an array of tools and gear so they won't be dropped on workers below. Ergodyne is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2013 and has a flashy new catalog prepared.

3M, DEB Group, Capital Safety, Milliken, Miller Electric, and a host of other other manufacturers had many new products on display, as well. Some exhibitors said they came to Orlando to strengthen relationships with current and future customers and distributors. "We're involved so much with so many different industries that many of our customers come here," said Stacy Pearson, district sales manager at Accuform. "We're able to show them what's new and upcoming. This is a great way for us to show everyone what we can do and what we are capable of. It's really great exposure for us, just being able to network with our distributors throughout the United States."

The new products showcase gave attendees a chance to see some of the latest innovations. One such product was a HeartSine automated external defibrillator. "It's raising awareness with safety managers, risk and loss prevention people, to understand that [our product] is available; it's not expensive," said Marc Lawrence, senior vice president, Americas and Global Marketing for HeartSine Technologies, Inc. "It's the best method that you can have to make sure that you will not have a death." He posed a question that many exhibiting companies likely asked in the past century and are sure to ask themselves in the future: "In this sector here, [the question] is: How can we improve the safety of what companies do for their employees and customers?"

The 2013 National Safety Council Congress & Expo will be help Sept. 30-Oct. 2 in Chicago. More information can be found at www.nsc.org.

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