A+A in Düsseldorf: Companies do not save on safety
High attendance also from abroad
Even in a difficult economic climate companies invest in the health and safety of their employees. This is the core message and conclusion to be drawn from the results and high exhibitor and visitor attendance at A+A 2009 in Düsseldorf. Over the four days of the trade fair (3 – 6 November) 55,800 trade visitors (2007: 55,200) came to gather information on the latest trends in the areas of occupational safety, health promotion and security management at work from the 1,541 exhibitors from 62 nations. This is a new record high in the history of the event. Almost one in four visitors came from abroad. Growing attendance was registered particularly from non-European countries such as those in South America.
Summing up the great satisfaction and good vibes amongst exhibitors in the exhibition halls Managing Director of Messe Düsseldorf Joachim Schäfer said: “A+A has impressively confirmed its position as the leading international trade fair and congress for health and safety at work scoring highly both in terms of exhibitors and visitors. Worth stressing here is the great decision-making competence of visitors.“
The A+A Congress registered some 5,000 participants, the accompanying Conference of the International Labour Organisation (ILO/a UN suborganisation) over 300 delegates (from just under 60 countries).
Gerd Zeisler, Chairman of the A+A Advisory Council, attributes the success of A+A not only to the special ranges covered by this event but also to an overall greater interest taken in safety and security matters: “The need for security has become an issue for the general public worldwide. The fear of the consequences of natural disasters or terrorist attacks as well as of the effects of pandemics concerns not only health care organisations worldwide but also the managers of multi-national companies.” With reference to A+A Zeisler emphasises the Disaster Control Forum, which was a new inclusion in the programme. “A+A has always picked up on safety-relevant topics in cooperation with strong partners. This is its recipe for success.” The Disaster Control Forum enjoyed keen visitor interest and will continue to be held as part of A+A in future. This year’s cooperation partners included the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW), the Factory Fire Brigade Association (WFV), the German Red Cross, the professional fire brigade of the city of Düsseldorf, the Federal Police as well as Drägerwerk AG & Co. KGaA/ Safety Division.
A+A Congress: Staff protection increases ability to innovate
Under the general theme “Innovations for Safe and Healthy Enterprises“ the A+A Congress particularly addressed the qualitative and economic benefits of preventive action. Outlining the advantage and significance of prevention, Bruno Zwingmann, the General Manager of BASI e.V. (Federal Working Group on Safety and Health at Work) said: “Companies’ sustainable ability to compete and innovate is closely correlated with the qualification, motivation and creativity of their employees. Without the protection and promotion of health at work these are not possible.” The Day of OSH Officers held as part of the A+A Congress for the first time, attracted 900 participants and the “Employers’ Day” – also held for the first time – was attended by over 300 employers from small businesses.
Dr. Walter Eichendorf, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of DGUV (the German Statutory Accident Insurance) and member of the A+A Advisory Council, sees no indication that companies are saving on occupational safety measures in times of economic crisis: "There are good reasons for this to continue. The image of prevention is changing. What used to be regarded as cumbersome red tape is now seen as a valuable support for planning efficient manufacturing processes and workflows. Those with top rankings in OSH also have the edge over competitors.”
The first major public appearance made by the newly elected Federal Minister for Labour and Social Affairs, Dr. Franz Josef Jung, on the occasion of the A+A Congress opening attracted a great deal of attention. In his address Jung underscored the value of decent work for economic growth as well as for social cohesion and stressed the importance of the Joint German OSH Strategy (GDA) pursued by the Federal Government, the Laender and Accident Insurances with a view to developing an effective prevention culture.
Trend barometer A+A - innovative products and services
At the A+A trade fair exhibitors showcased the entire cross-section of products and services for personal protection and the realisation of smooth-running, health-retaining business processes – ranging from protective items for individual parts of the body to complex security schemes including everything from occupational medical care to ergonomic workplace design. Touring the fair grounds visitors were able to convince themselves of the producers’ innovative power.
• The product highlights on display at A+A 2009 included a fully recyclable protective work jacket, a business suit fitted with wind-breaker membranes designed especially for the both chic and functional use for field representatives or protective wear with integral UV-protection, to name but a few. Ergonomic furniture customised for use in children’s day nurseries, noise-absorbing pictures or the latest generation of highly sensitive gas measuring devices for the simultaneous measuring of various gases were also the “talk of the town” amongst A+A visitors.
• Up-and-coming styling trends and functional aspects for workwear and protective clothing were centrestage at the A+A fashion show in Hall 9 while ergonomics and healthy office work were the focal themes of the Special Show “Success Factor Office“ (Hall 7a). The highlights here included a novel soot filter for laser printers or a fully automatic indoor air humidification system.
• Also located in Hall 7a, the well attended “Innovation Park Hazardous Substances“ provided information on new products, concepts and services for handling substance mixtures with a high potential hazard for man and merchandise.
Messe Düsseldorf signs “Seoul Declaration”
The fact that Messe Düsseldorf - as the organiser of the leading international trade fair for safety and health at work, A+A, as well as of other successful OSH trade fairs on a continental level - also sets standards for safe and healthy work at its own company, has now also been documented in writing. Managing Director Joachim Schäfer signed the “Seoul Declaration on Safety and Health at Work“ as part of a ceremony on 4 November. By ratifying the Seoul Declaration initiated by the International Social Security Association (ISSA) among others things companies undertake to make prevention an integral part of their activities and to take the lead in promoting a prevention culture for safety and health at work.
For further detailed online information on the various sets of topics at A+A 2009, on product highlights and exhibitors’ corporate news go to: http://www.AplusA-online.de
• The next A+A will be held in Düsseldorf from 18 - 21 October 2011.
• The dates of other OSH trade fairs organised by the Messe Düsseldorf Group (http://www.messe-duesseldorf.de) are:
• COS+H: 1 – 3 September 2010 in Beijing
INTERPROTEC: 13 – 17 September 2010 in Brno/ Czech Republic
OS+H Asia: 15 – 17 September 2010 in Singapore