by Jason Allen
The big news out of Integrate started the day before the show opened. A stand wall that was not yet secured to either the floor or overhead rigging was loaded up with LED panels, with predictable results. The entire thing crashed to the ground, taking a scaff tower with it, and into the stand next door, dislocating the shoulder of the exhibitor staff member responsible for the misadventure, who has since been discharged from hospital. If the scaff hadn’t been there, this piece could be an obituary. The staff on the ULA Group stand that the wall crashed into had taken one of history’s better-timed coffee breaks, and were uninjured. Not so their gear.
CX was able to confirm the following facts: none of the riggers or stand builders working on the show were responsible for this accident. WorkSafe and the MCEC inspected the incident, and the show was deemed safe to open, which it did, on time. Fault seems to be entirely with the staff member, who was reportedly told not to do what he did.
What CX did observe is that many exhibitors’ staff who were working nearby were still visibly shaken by the incident. While refusing to be quoted on the record, many expressed dissatisfaction with the safety standards of some (but not all) of the stand builder’s staff employed on-site, reporting that the obviously unskilled iterant labour they employed had no concept of Australian workplace safety standards. Language difficulties and a lack of training were identified as further problems. One particularly concerned exhibitor pointed out several large stand walls that he witnessed being constructed, and challenged me to identify what was holding them up. We make no comment on their assertion, and stress that the site has been deemed safe.
The exhibitors we spoke with are raising these concerns with Diversified, Integrate’s owners.