Statement by Wolfram Diener, Managing Director of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH, on A+A 2019
Wolfram Diener, Managing Director of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH (c) Messe Düsseldorf GmbH / ctillmann
From 5 to 8 November 2019, Occupational Safety and Health take centre stage in Düsseldorf.
The increasing level of international interconnectivity and networking is accompanied by new company structures and production conditions. These in turn mean employees have to master new challenges. To do this successfully, we need modern occupational safety and intelligent concepts.
In future, more and more people will be working in networks worldwide and will perform assignments in virtual teams, supported by IT media. Employees will be independent of locations and fixed working times. The experimental world of employment can be highly appealing to young talent thanks to flexible work structures. Production processes also increasingly organise themselves independently, supported by decentralised IT intelligence and autonomous robotic systems. These can automatically adapt to external requirements such as unexpected process disruptions or changing demands, for example. With employees basically accessible around the clock, the risk of mental stress and illnesses increases; new technologies can also increase the individual’s control. Profound structural changes and new forms of organisation offer opportunities to create working conditions that are healthier and less stressful. A+A 2019, the global trade fair for safety, security and health at work, presents these opportunities and simultaneously keeps a keen eye on potential risks and necessary protection measures.
From 5 to 8 November, visitors from around the world will meet at the 36th A+A in Düsseldorf in order to gain an overview of new trends, products and legal provisions. As an international trade fair with congress, A+A will once again build a bridge between scientific findings and practical applications whilst providing a platform for dialogues between politics and business. Interest in the A+A topics personal safety, security and health at work remains strong. In 2019, the new Hall 1 will additionally be available for the trade fair. With this, we aim to fulfil the call for more presentation space expressed by many exhibitors. We expect around 2,000 exhibitors. Around 69,000 visitors came to A+A 2017, 47 percent of which hailed from abroad. Companies and specialist shops from around the world will be present at the trade fair. The leading trade fair for occupational health and safety takes place every two years and addresses responsible parties in occupational health and safety management, HR officers and work councils, industrial specialist shops and purchasers, emergency services personnel from the fire brigade, the police, and relief and rescue organisations. Further target groups are responsible parties in supervisory bodies as well as owners of small and medium-sized businesses.
Even though A+A’s target groups and content are so diverse, they can be divided into three central fields: Safety, Security and Health at Work.
Safety is still A+A’s core topic. All market leaders will once again be exhibiting at this year’s trade fair. The market for personal protection equipment is booming. And for a variety of reasons. On the one hand, we see an increase in public safety awareness. The fact that working clothes are undergoing development with regard to functionality and are being enhanced optically further supports this trend. In addition, an increase in environmentally friendly fair trade materials answer the call for more sustainability that many decision-makers have expressed. Another reason for the upwards trend is image wear. For example, more and more people see safety shoes that have been designed to look like sneakers and work trousers that look like leisurewear as a fashion statement. At A+A in 2017, 56 exhibitors alone focused on corporate fashion and image wear. A further 260 companies additionally gave product presentations in this segment – making A+A the largest trade fair on this topic by international comparison. Further growth in this field is expected for 2019. The corporate fashion market sees employees who have contact with clients as their central target group. Work clothes with and without protective functions thereby are a marketing instrument that support a company’s public presence and fulfil important contact and communications functions.
The second core A+A topic focuses on Security and protecting every single employee in a company or organisation. Objectives here are to provide protective measures in order to minimise risks for each employee and to guarantee technical security of plants and buildings. Safe storage, protection in traffic and during transport, radiation protection, structural fall protection and occupational environmental protection are some of the main focal points in this field. The objective is to prevent or reduce negative consequences of imminent damaging events as far as possible. Therefore, aspects around preventive fire protection, protection against explosions and extensive emergency management are becoming more and more important.
Promoting health as a central concern for every individual also means sustaining every individual’s labour. A+A’s third focal point, Health at Work, focuses on how we can achieve that. A+A presents solutions in the fields of acoustics, lighting and illumination, interior climates, ergonomic tools and workplace design. The promotion of occupational health and prevention looks at healthy diets, exercise, stress relief and relaxation as well as drug prevention.
Companies that invest in safety, security and health at work benefit from higher employee satisfaction, and not just that: they experience fewer downtimes and accident-related interruptions of operations. To put it in a nutshell, all parties involved benefit from healthy workplaces, as these mean dedicated employees and strengthen competitiveness. According to studies by EU-OSHA, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, investing in the promotion of health is worthwhile – every Euro generates returns between 2.50 and 4.80 Euros. According to the German Federal Statistical Office, in 2020 the share of the labour force aged between 50 and 64 will increase from 30 percent to 39 percent compared to 2000. This requires workplace initiatives to ensure employees remain mobile and healthy and can continue to fulfil their duties even if they have physical constraints, for example by using more ergonomically designed office furniture or tools.
The central theme of all A+A presentations is the Highlight Route which showcases products, concepts and solutions for the future of labour. Here, exhibitors present practical products such as digital aids or present innovative workplace models. New approaches that change familiar patterns in work organisation and staff deployment offer entrepreneurial opportunities such as flexibility and cost optimisation. But exhibitors at A+A 2019 also keep an eye on the risks caused by processes that are increasingly more complex and therefore increasingly hard to manage. A+A presents possible solutions.
The Meeting Point “SAFETY+HEALTH” will once again take place in Hall 10 for all non-commercial exhibitors. Here, the German Federal Association for Occupational Safety and Health (Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft für Sicherheit und Gesundheit bei der Arbeit Basi e.V.) will join their international and national partners to offer a broad range of consultations and information, supplemented by entertaining, instructive and lively activities that invite visitors to participate. Non-material occupational health and safety organisations will also take part, meaning trade unions and accident insurance companies, employer organisations and unions, ministries and public bodies, trade and professional associations, technical universities and other non-profit organisations – in other words, every specialist on questions around occupational health and safety. They will answer questions on provisions, occupational diseases, hazardous materials, accident insurance, protective equipment and occupational promotion of health and rehabilitation, to name a few.
Experience Occupational Health and Safety Live
The trade fair invites visitors to join intensive dialogues with experts as well as experience and test themselves the products for occupational health and safety, which are displayed. For example by offering special shows such as “Safe Rescues” presented by the German Life Saving Association, in cooperation with the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief, and “Fire protection and Emergency Management” with the Industrial Fire Protection Association of Germany as well as the trendsetting forums “Workplace Design & Health” and “Safety & Security”.
The trade fair will be accompanied by the 36th congress, the leading joint event for occupational safety in Germany. Here, players in industry, craft and trade, administration, politics and science come together to engage in expert exchanges on new concepts and industry challenges.
More than 5,000 congress visitors are expected to take part in this expert conference at the CCD Congress Center Düsseldorf. Around 40 series of events offer a forum for discussions on current scientific findings and their practical implementation as well as for an intensive exchange between politics and businesses. New formats such as “Interactive Practice” offer additional opportunities for engaging in conversation. And there is a new addition – not just for professionals, but for university lecturers, students and trainees: the “Focus Profession” with the first ever “Prevention Slam”. The congress offers presentations on respiratory protection, hygiene at the place of deployment and self-protection especially for the target group of emergency responders.
In 2019, A+A also offers the brand new film and media festival “kommmitmensch” (German play on words, translates to “join us in committing to our fellow humans”). Using visual media, the festival aims to strengthen the prevention and promotion of occupational health in companies. In a special category, convincing product films will be evaluated on their effectiveness with regard to protecting employees. In cooperation with accident insurance companies and trade unions such as the German Federal Trade Union Energy Textiles Electronics Media Products (BGETEM, Berufsgenossenschaft Energie Textil Elektro Medienerzeugnisse), a prize will be awarded for conveying information on protective products and solutions in a particularly attractive way. Once again, the German Health and Safety Prize will also be awarded. This year, in addition to the main categories “Strategic, Occupational, Personal and Cultural”, an innovative start-up product idea will be honoured in the “Newcomer” category. The German Health and Safety prize is awarded by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the German Commission for Occupational Safety and Safety Engineering and the German Social Accident Insurance. The award ceremony will take place on November 5th, 2019, in the CCD Congress Center Düsseldorf.