The recent staging of A+A – the Leading International Trade Fair for Safety, Security and Health at Work – closed in Düsseldorf, Germany to record results: 2,121 exhibitors from 63 nations showcased their innovations on 839,600 square feet of exhibit space in ten halls to over 73,000 trade visitors. Every second visitor came from outside Germany. With these figures, A+A confirmed its status as the largest and most important event for safety and health at work sector.
The 36th International Congress for Occupational Safety and Health was held concurrently.
Success Factor Sustainability: Basis for Good Work
Sustainability was an important theme at A+A 2019 at new events during the trade shows as well as at the congress with topics such as “ Sustainable textile production” and “Fairness in global supply chains,” which will reportedly be further expanded in the future.
“I was impressed how our motto “People Matter” really came to life in practice at A+A over the past four days,” said Wolfram Diener, managing director of Messe Düsseldorf. “Anyone who has not found any solutions for the current and upcoming changes in our working world here in Düsseldorf this week will have a hard time finding them anywhere else.”
The Future of Work
The ranges presented by exhibitors and the extensive ancillary program with seven special shows and expert conferences covered all aspects of a complete prevention culture – from corporate health management to personal protection and workplace design. This included innovations for the digitalization of the workplace since the industry is increasingly using new technical possibilities. On display were digital exhibits, especially along the “Highlight Route on the Future of Work” and in the new START-UP Zone. Concepts for practical uses of collaborating robotics (Cobots) and exo-skeletons were showcased as well as smart solutions for personal protection such as special Apps for hazardous substance management, interactive workwear and Virtual Reality training applications.
Broad International Reach Reflects Global Need for Good Work
Healthy employees are a global goal – this was underlined by the stable proportion of international visitors who came to A+A from 137 countries this year. The equally high share of international exhibitors also reflected the worldwide interest in safety and health at the workplace. About 70% of the 2,121 A+A exhibitors – from start-up to global players – came from abroad: from Australia, China, Russia, Thailand and India, from all over Europe and South Africa, Brazil and the U.S.
A special feature at A+A 2019 was the successful North American Pavilion, organized by Messe Düsseldorf North America, with 18 companies presenting their technologies. Overall, 79 U.S. and Canadian companies participated in A+A 2019.
Boom for Personal Protective Equipment continues
One segment benefitting from the globally rising awareness of occupational safety and health is the field of Personal Protective Equipment – the traditionally largest segment at A+A with over 1,100 exhibitors this year. According to a current study by market research company macrom on the German PPE market, the volume of the German PPE market rose from EUR 1.92 billion in 2016 to EUR 2.23 billion in 2018.
“The PPE market continues to benefit from companies’ increasing willingness to better protect and educate their employees. Accordingly, PPE manufacturers and suppliers are increasingly positioning themselves as strategic consulting partners with holistic solutions,” stated Birgit Horn, director of A+A 2019.
Other factors favoring PPE sales are the rising numbers of older workers, for whom the market offers more and more solutions, the implementation of modern assistance systems in production, the growing interest in social and ecological manufacturing conditions as well as the development of disposal concepts for protective equipment.
Visitors from all over the World at the A+A Congress
With some 5,200 visitors the 36th Congress for Occupational Safety and Occupational Medicine, organized by Basi, (the German Federal Association of Occupational Safety and Health), recorded a positive increase in attendance.
“We are delighted about the increasing exchange with international visitors, for example from Pakistan, Myanmar and Bangladesh, but also from Eastern Europe. We discussed globally applying OSH rules with them,” said Bruno Zwingmann, managing director of Basi.
The well attended events addressed topics such as a new procedure for measuring musculoskeletal stress and current technology developments assisting people with disabilities in their working life. Fashion designer Guido Maria Kretschmer shared his experiences in work design in the panel discussion on “Good Work Worldwide”. The congress ended with the first Prevention Slam by Basi with students in the field of occupational safety with the title “Good Work for me means…”
The next A+A will be held from October 26 – 29, 2021 at the fairgrounds in Düsseldorf, Germany.