Statement on A+A 2015 by Joachim Schäfer, Managing Director Messe Düsseldorf

People are the most important, and at the same time, they are the most fragile elements within a company. Therefore, safety at work and all measures of action with the objective of maintaining the work force are important topics and, in the light of the change taking place within the working world, the topic is more current than ever. New technologies are featured in companies, the consolidation of work is making progress. Demographic change is resulting in ageing workforces and consequently, labour shortage is already evident now in several industries. In light of these challenges, companies must have their “very own” interest in safe and health-maintaining working conditions beyond existing legal requirements and they will immediately profit from related investments. The “European Agency for Safety and Health at Work” (EU-OSHA) estimates the return of every euro invested in the promotion of health at work to be 2.5 to 4.8 euros.

The A+A in Düsseldorf, the number 1 event for safety and health at work (trade fair + convention), is meeting the requirements of the modern working world in companies with the three comprehensive key areas. Safety, Security and Health at work / corporate health.

On the one hand, these three areas traditionally form the key points focussed upon at the A+A, which is “celebrating” its 30th run in Düsseldorf with A+A 2015 (from 27 to 30 October). On the other hand, these areas are always changing along with the changes and requirements of the working world and, in the process, they take current trends into account, oriented on the needs of the core target groups of management of health and safety at work.

With the range of offers at the A+A trade fair, the congress programme and by means of live presentations, all relevant aspects concerning health promotion, for example, are being considered. In this connection, the specialist visitors will find information and application examples in the special segment “Corporate Health” in hall 10. Here, the topic is healthy nutrition, drug prevention, stress avoidance by means of the right work organisation or also programmes to maintain fitness.

Specific measures range from the analysis of the psychological and physical effects of stress in the workplace to approaches on motivating employees in terms of a health-maintaining work and leisure behaviour, all the way to measures targeting the management level and its function as a role model. This is because well-devised concepts also have to be lived out (demonstrated) in terms of a “healthy" company culture.

Related to the topic, the special area “Workplace Design” is also presenting best-practice solutions concerning the ergonomic design of the workplace in hall 10. Thereby, factors such as acoustics, climate, workstation or also product ergonomics are taken into consideration.

Prevention pays off - Corporate Health in the spotlight.

Current data from the Federal Agency for Industrial Safety and Occupational Medicine, (BAuA) show how important it is to deal with these factors correctly. According to this, noise-induced hearing loss, muscle and skeletal diseases, primarily of the lumbar spine (e.g. by lifting or carrying things incorrectly) as well as diseases of the respiratory system are among the most frequent types of illnesses in occupational contexts in Germany.

Thereby, the economic potential of prevention can be illustrated by the assessments of the BauA (Federal Agency for Industrial Safety and Occupational Medicine), whereby the total economic production losses due to illnesses or work disability have been estimated to be 59 billion euros (year: 2013) and the loss of gross value added was estimated to be 103 billion euros.

In the light of demographic change, the situation that every third employed individual in German is older than 50 indicates the challenge faced to reacted to the changed labour structure using special solutions. This trend seems irreversible and therefore, it is time for companies to act!

You will receive suitable answers to pressing questions from significant market players at A+A 2015. The area Security and Health at Work / Corporate Health will have around 180 exhibitors this time. Thereby, not only information on products and services will be conveyed. Naturally, the “Live” experience must not be forgotten.

In this connection, a joint event stage for the areas of Corporate Health and Workplace Design is going to be offering a diverse programme with practice-oriented short lectures, presentations, rounds of talks and discussions on all days of the event. Furthermore, the special show, Workplace Design, (in cooperation with the publishing house, the Dr.-Curt-Haefner-Verlag), will be putting products as well as ergonomic production and office solutions into the spotlight.

Directly adjacent, there is also the meeting point, Safety and Health, centrally located as a contact point for non-commercial exhibitors (e.g. occupational and professional associations, the Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung (German Social Accident Insurance), Internal Labour Organization).

Corporate Fashion in demand – “We are company”

In view of the largest A+A themed area for personal protection equipment (PPE) with more than about 900 exhibitors, the merging of fashion and functionality can be seen as a major trend. In the meantime, even protective footwear offering the highest level of protection cannot be differentiated from hip sneakers for recreational use anymore thanks to their hip colours (from bright blue to neon green), their light weight and comfort-oriented fit.

As the most important industry platform worldwide for personal protective equipment and protective clothing, the A+A has been able to considerably improve its position, especially with reference to so-called corporate fashion / image wear, due to the merging of protective clothing with modern workwear in recent years. In the meantime, it is even considered among the most significant events for this sub-segment internationally. In this connection, not only the range of exhibitor offers should be mentioned, but also system providers (full-service providers) as well as suppliers of fabrics and materials for textile manufacturing. At A+A 2015, around 60 exhibitors are featuring corporate fashion as their main focus. A total of around 180 exhibitor will be presenting corporate-fashion relate articles and services.

This special A+A topic will be marketed to relevant target groups in companies worldwide using the slogan, “We are company.” In addition to industrial safety management, this will also include those responsible for marketing and purchasing.

Corporate fashion / image wear, meaning highly fashion-oriented workwear with a rather slight protective function, is going to gain further significance in the coming years. This is because company images can be visually “transported” to customers with individually designed and fabricated clothing. Positive spin-off: Those who invest in high-quality and appealing corporate fashion also underline their appreciation for their employees.

Leading toward good business with functionality and quality

Even though good designs are covering protective function better and better, causing workwear to progress into a fashionable article of clothing that people like to wear, the functionality of personal protective equipment deserves to be looked at more closely. Here, the A+A exhibitors present themselves as being true to detail and full of ideas. Modern fabric and high-quality, high-tech materials provide for durability and easy care, pleasant wear comfort as well as good (body) climate during every use.

In recent years, all in all, a holistic way of looking things has prevailed. The combination of various equipment components harmonised with one another results in an optimum level of safety. For example, manufacturers offer safety helmets for various purposes and a variety of accessories for this. The list of accessories ranges from hearing protection to work lights all the way to eye protection, by means of which further optimisation can be implemented with regard to the specific application within the scope of daily working routines.

In order to improve wear comfort (and with that also acceptance from the wearer), quality-oriented suppliers of safety articles are ensuring that their products can be continuously adapted to the user’s body contours on a more individual basis. For example, they don’t only offer shoe series for the various safety shoe protection classes, but also with various attenuation characteristics, various widths or also designed to accommodate optimally fitted orthopaedic inserts.

Those that react in this manner with an innovative focus will be able to establish a good starting point within the dynamic market conditions at hand and can look forward to A+A 2015 with anticipation. This is because the market for personal protective equipment is a growth market and, apart from that, a market worth billions with a worldwide volume of approx. 17 billion euros. Thereof, around 6 billion euros represent Europe and, in turn, according to the study by macrom presented at A+A 2013, 1.7 billion euros represents the German market. Thereby, protective clothing, protective gloves and safety shoes are considered to be the strongest sub-segments.

A heightened level of attention for the significance of preventive measures and the strengthening of the performance of employees has a positive effect on demand. The strength of Germany’s production is currently leading to a very good level of PPE demand. The markets in the Middle East and in Asia are developing in a positive manner (coming from a low level of demand). Demand in certain Central European and Southern European countries is rather weak.

A+A continues to grow and now also in hall 11

The A+A started in the year 1954 as an event for “Safety and Medicine at Work” and has developed into a leading international meeting point for health and safety at work. It takes place every two years. With more than 1600 exhibitors and over 63,000 specialist visitors (from 69 nations), the A+A 2013 was able to attain the best results ever in the history of the event.

Even this year, the A+A is continuing to grow. At the A+A 2015, we estimate participation to be around 1,800 exhibitors and about 65,000 square metres of booked floor space.

Therefore, nine halls will be occupied at the Düsseldorf Trade Fair Center Exhibitors for the field of personal protective equipment (including corporate fashion) are being presented in halls 3, 4, 5, 7.0, 9, 10 and now also additionally in hall 11, corresponding to the increase in demand again for space.

Themes concerning safety at work (including special equipment for fire protection and disaster management), being concentrated in halls 6 and 7a, are going to be offered to specialist visitors.

Just like in the area for health at work / corporate health (hall 10), live presentations held in special event zones are going to be taking place in the areas for personal protection and safety at work, conveying suggestions and knowledge for practice-oriented solutions in a diversified way.

The established theme parks of occupational fire protection/emergency management (in hall 6/partner: The Fire Brigade Association (WFV), the “Innovation park Safety & Security” in hall 7a must be mentioned as a presentation space for especially innovative products and services as well as the A+A Fashion show in hall 11.

Furthermore A+A 2015 will include the première of a special show entitled “Safe Rescue at all Highs and Lows”. The event will be held in cooperation with the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW). Using a diving pool and a roofed-over climbing facility, the demonstrations will feature rescue operations of accident victims in extreme situations, both above and under water. The demonstrations will be running live in Hall 6 on each day of the trade fair. The focus will be on the occupational safety of helpers and on appropriate personal protection equipment (e.g. fall protection).

Partner country South Korea

The partner country of A+A 2015 is South Korea. The country is not only pursuing an ambitious social-political agenda to implement safe and productive workplaces in its own country. It is considered a leader by experts with regard to prevention and has been involved in numerous projects that are supported by the International Labour Organization in other states of the region, for example, in Myanmar. At the same time, with a workforce of 24 million, and therefore potential users of protective items and solutions for health and safety at work, the market is considered to be especially attractive from a supplier’s point of view.

In addition to the community stand with exhibitors from the Republic of Korea and the visit of a high-ranking political delegation from the country, furthermore, as part of A+A 2015, a talk regarding the training of safety experts and the improvement of communication between regulatory and advisory institutions and companies is planned. Furthermore, within the scope of an informative event, suppliers of person protective equipment should be made aware of the relevant regulations and certification issues regarding the import of related products.

The A+A partner country activities, which started with Russia in 2009, and continued with Poland (2011) as well as Turkey (2013) have further anchored the A+A as a worldwide leading trade fair with congress for health and safety at work using the resulting contacts and business relations. At A+A 2013, already more than one in four was an international specialist visitor, whereby the visitors came from a total of 69 nations.

Extensive and international – the congress programme

In addition to the trade fair and the integrated theme parks, the international A+A Congress is an integral component of the A+A, which had been lastly visited by around 5,500 participants. In around 60 series of events, it is programmatically oriented toward the fields of safety, health and ergonomics. Select topics are going to be simultaneously translated by interpreters (German – English) and are therefore not only appealing to a German-speaking audience. For example, international items on the programme include: Occupational diseases, personal protective equipment, green jobs and prevention, training and qualifications or also audits and certification.

Well-regarded transnational programme components of the A+A Congress will also be part of the ILO (International Labour Organization) Conference in 2015, as a dialogue and information platform for worldwide trends in prevention. As a focus, there is the question of how to be able to ensure work and social standards in terms of humane work for all the people of the world.

The international specialist conference is another A+A 2015 supporting programme highlight that Messe Düsseldorf has organised in cooperation with the Association of Technical Trade (VTH). Under the title “Global Trends in PPE Distribution“ (PPE = Personal Protective Equipment), lectures given by industry experts will shed light on various aspects of the indirect sale of personal protective equipment as well as technical requirements (in the English language).

Target groups of the A+A include experts from the field of occupational work safety and safety management, specialist shops, human resource officers, industrial purchasers, company doctors, owners of small businesses or also personnel and supervisory boards, emergency services personnel from the fire brigade, and the police.

A+A 2015 will be held from 27 to 30 October.

Opening times: 9:00 pm – 6:00 pm