A-Safe scoops Queen’s Award for second time

Staff from Elland-based A-Safe.
Staff from Elland-based A-Safe.

Elland firm A-Safe has won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for the second time.

The safety-barrier manufacturer has received its award for overseas trade - with overseas sales having grown by 113 per cent over the last three years and the proportion of sales exported having increased to 76 per cent of the total.

The company was formed in Halifax in 1984 and now has 15 subsidiaries in countries including Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Scandinavia, Belgium, Spain, USA, UAE and Japan, as well as resellers in over 30 countries worldwide.

A-Safe’s clients include Nestlé, Coca-Cola, BMW, 3M, Heathrow Airport, Unilever, Amazon and Jaguar Land Rover.

Established in 1984, the business lost everything in 1989 when severe flash flooding struck throughout the Calder Valley, and its facility was under four feet of water.

State-of-the-art equipment was lost, huge volumes of product stock destroyed, even the factory building itself was in a state of ruin.

Owner and founder, David Smith, started the business with the goal of creating a safe and stable future for his young family, creating jobs for local people at a time when much of the North of England was in an employment crisis.

The set-back of the great flood did not deter him; he rebuilt, commencing trade in 1992 with new premises and new equipment.

Nowadays, the business he began is led by his sons, James and Luke.

The facility in Elland – not a mile from the bungalow the family grew up in – has become a world-leading Innovation Centre, proudly recruiting polymer physicists, design engineers, and electronics engineers.

The company evolved from manufacturing polythene films in 1984, then using the waste from this manufacture to produce plastic cores, which led to the creation of polymer pallets and in 2001, the invention of the first industrial strength polymer safety barrier. A revolutionary type of safety barrier designed to flex, absorb impact forces from heavy vehicles, then reform to its original shape.

The latest developments include electronic safety systems that are designed to detect, monitor and record damage.

In 2015, 2016 and 2017, A-Safe was listed in The Sunday Times Small-to-Medium Enterprises Export Track 100 league table of the fastest-growing international sales for British SMEs.

In 2017, it featured in the HSBC International Track 200 league table as one of the UK’s mid-market private companies with the fastest-growing international sales.

A-Safe’s RackGuard product won the prestigious iF Award for product innovation in 2015, and its iFlex barrier range won the iF Award in the Industry/Skilled Trades category in 2016.