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A growing export market

With its products all fabricated from aluminium, one-fifth of the company’s staff are welders.

When it comes to exporting aviation products, the mind usually turns to aircraft, either complete or components thereof, or else ancillary items such as trolleys and signage.

Based in Maungaturoto, rural Northland, is a company exporting aviation ancillary items as a sideline to its core business. SafeSmart Access was started 20 years by brothers Shane and Jeff Wearmouth to develop a range of scaffolding and other height access products to meet the demands of the construction industry, and about five years ago the aviation side started growing into SafeSmart Aviation with an international market. A third brother, Daniel, heads the New Zealand sales team.

No less than the construction industry, the maintenance of large aircraft demands height access products. Requirements are numerous and include protection from falls, efficiency, adaptability, protection of delicate surfaces and adequate strength, both to support the weight of engineers and tools and to withstand rough treatment. And don’t forget IATA’s airport handling manual and regulatory standards within the entire international aviation industry.

Perhaps the most stringent of those is used by Qantas, SafeSmart Aviation’s first export customer and still one of its largest, so Qantas is used as the benchmark for all aviation products. Standards Australia’s AS 1657:2018 is also used in New Zealand, and the British sphere of influence has BS EN ISO 14122-2:2016 as a standard.

Ease of use means minimal weight, and all SafeSmart’s products are fabricated from extruded high tensile marine grade aluminium, welded and bolted together into units able to be dismantled into sections to fit into standard shipping containers.

All design and manufacture take place in-house, with four in the Maungaturoto design team and another two in Auckland. Production is undertaken on site in a series of connected factory buildings added as company growth requires, all with a backdrop of green Northland hills.

The aviation export side started with Qantas and includes United Airlines—currently the biggest—Air New Zealand, JetBlue, Jetstar, Air Fiji and Air Nauru. A contract to supply eight different maintenance platform types to Air Mauritius is currently underway.

The Indian Ocean Republic of Mauritius, independent from 1968, was first colonised by the Dutch in 1638, by the French in 1715 and the invading British from 1810. Under French rule the volcanic main island of Mauritius, slightly larger than our own Stewart Island, was used for sugar cane production, and after the British abolished slavery in 1835 the settlers introduced indentured labourers from India...



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The crash of Air New Zealand McDonnell Douglas DC-10 ZK-NZP, flight TE901, on the slopes of Antarctica’s Mt Erebus on 28 November 1979 with 257 fatalities—237 passengers and 20 crew—is New Zealand’s worst civil disaster and still the southern hemisphere’s worst aviation accident...



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Air China flight CA106 was en route from Hong Kong to Dalian in China when it abruptly descended from 35,000ft to 10,000ft, prompting oxygen masks to be deployed. It then climbed and continued to its destination at a peak altitude of 26,600ft....



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