We mixed it with the worlds finest H&S professionals!
So, we did it!... We exhibited at the UKs premiere Health and Safety event at the NEC on the 7,8,9th September 2021!
In almost 5 years of trading this is the first time we’ve done anything remotely like this, so we thought we’d share our thoughts of this pretty steep learning curve!
What did we hope to get from the event?...
To make contacts, to generate enquiries, to meet peers, to enhance our credibility, to see what products, innovations and services are on the market, to raise awareness of face fit testing; generally to support and celebrate our industry!
The build up…
It was only 6 weeks prior to the event that we decided to exhibit, a hectic few weeks resulting in a distinct loss of hair; some display materials were still on the printing press at half past two on the day before the event! We pulled it off and the 1974 Rapport stand looked pretty decent if we do say so ourselves! The team at Nineteen Group and the NEC were fantastic both prior to and during the event.
No one knew how many people would actually set foot through the door with it being the first industry event post covid, the clientele were predominantly H&S pros who were naturally risk averse! The event was pretty well attended all considered, result!
The show itself…
Hard work! On the floor most days at 0800 for a 1000 hrs opening and it was go go go until close, barely a moment to “switch off”, chill or to really savour the occasion. We had live Quantitative face fit testing and tried to explain the pros and cons of each of the two common recognised face fit test methods whilst trying to reinforce the significance of selecting “adequate and suitable” RPE.
Robert the dummy head was undoubtedly and definitely the star of the show and generated more interest and intrigue than I could have ever imagined! A real talking point and a great ice breaker, allowing me to explain the benefits of quantitative face fit testing to those that weren't already in the know. Big thanks to my gorgeous daughter for making him with me!
We also promoted ourselves as an IATP approved Asbestos Training Provider too, unfortunately someone decided to help themselves to our resin encapsulated ACMs, the only negative over the course of the event.
We shared our experiences, challenges and frustrations and successes during the pandemic with likeminded individuals, manufacturers, H&S pros, the HSE, Industry bodies (big thanks to the BSIF!), emergency services and IPC experts alike.
Thanks to the fantastic RPE manufacturers that we are proud to be associated with, we were able to gave a way hundreds of masks, each one with a little advice and guidance. We met some AMAZING people, both exhibitors and visitors alike.
As soon as the last visitor had left the building, swarms of engineers entered the arena as fellow exhibitors ripped down their carefully assembled exhibitions; forklifts replaced visitors and a near empty shell remained only a couple of hours after the final whistle had blown.
What we achieved…
We built lasting working relationships, we generated some genuine leads, we educated folk, we offered advise and answered technical questions, we had a bit of a giggle along the way, we learned from our peers and did ourselves no harm whatsoever!
We'd like to think that we again played a small part in raising standards when it comes to Respiratory Protective Equipment and helping to protect the worker from acute hazards and or chronic ill health conditions; which at the end of the day, is what its all about for us here at 1974 Rapport Ltd.
What would we do differently?...
Allow more time to visit other exhibits, have less material on display, give myself a few more weeks notice, take a BIG flask of tea (think urn!), fit a catheter, try to relax into it and to just enjoy the occasion!
Will we do it again?...
Was it worth it financially? NO, probably not! Will we do it all again? YES, you bet we will!
We’ll be back in 2022 and have already booked our stand, will be exhibiting at the Safety in Construction show this October and would love to see you there!
Another huge THANK YOU to all who helped along the way and to all who popped by to say hello, it is very much appreciated!
Take care all and keep up the great work.