Managing Director Tony Hughes
Hughes Safety Showers Managing Director Tony Hughes

Hughes Safety Showers of Bredbury, Stockport has been awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade 2012 - Continuous Achievement, one of the most prestigious awards made to British companies.

It specifically recognises continuous achievement over six years from 2005 to 2010. During this period, the Company’s overseas sales grew by more than 200%.

The announcement is traditionally made on the Queen’s birthday April 21st and only a handful of companies are honoured in this way each year. Later in the year the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester will visit the company’s Stockport manufacturing headquarters and formally confer the award with a Grant of Appointment.

This is the second time Hughes has won a Queen’s Award. Previously, in 2006, the award was for Outstanding Achievement, again in exporting.

Hughes Safety Showers is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of industrial emergency safety showers and eyebaths and its products are used throughout industry for essential first aid in the event of an accident. Using equipment supplied by Hughes, casualties can quickly wash off chemical spills or other potentially harmful contaminants avoiding the risk of serious injury.

‘Sustained growth in such challenging times is quite an achievement,’ says Tony Hughes. ‘Exports account for a large part of our business and will continue to grow as we extend our reach to previously untapped markets. The appointment of a distributor in Australasia in 2010 has significantly strengthened our position in the Asia-Pacific region and we are actively developing business opportunities in South America. To meet the growth in business and ensure adequate capacity in the future we have opened a second factory in Stockport adding an extra 35,000 square feet of production space, office accommodation and training facilities.”

Hughes North America is now well established and making an important and growing contribution to the company’s global sales. The opening of an additional sales office in Houston, Texas is providing support to the growing customer base across the country. It also provides an operational base for the business development manager who has recruited a network of specialist distributors across the US. Hughes Middle East has increased the size of its operation in the United Arab Emirates with additional warehousing, workshops and assembly facilities. These are backed up by additional staff who are providing after sales service to customers throughout the region.

The company’s Germany subsidiary, Hughes Notduschen GmbH, continues to play a pivotal role in expanding the European business.

“Our global distributor network has played a vital role in growing the international business. Their local knowledge is immensely important and helps to forge closer links with customers,” says Tony Hughes.
“The success we’ve achieved across quite different markets around the world is down to understanding local needs and developing the sort of products that meet their specific requirements. For cold climates, that includes developing heated cubicle showers for use in sub-zero conditions. At the other extreme, we’ve built showers with integral chillers to maintain a safe water temperature when used in desert regions.”

Hughes also supplies a wide range of decontamination systems to the military, fire service, ambulance and civil defence organisations.

The company has pioneered the development of compact, lightweight portable showers for decontaminating emergency services personnel and large transportable systems for the mass decontamination of the general public. The introduction of a versatile, rigid framed shelter with a choice of inner modules has attracted interest from a wide range of organisations including emergency services, police, forensic units and disaster relief agencies. Recent developments include products for decontamination and disinfection. They utilize self-sanitizing technology applied with an ultrasonic atomizer and have particular applications within the NHS.

“We will continue to strive for commercial success by listening to our customers and offering tailor made designs”, concludes Tony Hughes. “Our new control valve is a perfect example, providing a stronger and more cost effective solution for what is the most critical part of a modern emergency safety shower. As an Investors in People Gold Award holder, we understand the importance of having the right people. We aim to inspire our employees through training and career development which in turn will ensure we are well equipped to meet the challenges of the future and continue to grow the business. The Queen’s Award is not only recognition of their efforts but undoubtedly provides the inspiration and motivation to keep up the good work.”

About Hughes Safety Showers

Hughes Safety Showers is Europe’s largest manufacturer of emergency safety showers, eyebaths and decontamination equipment. The company’s products are used throughout industry and by civil and military authorities world wide. They are sold directly to end-users and contractors or through an international network of distributors. They are also sold through specialist safety equipment suppliers.