Safety's Must-See Event Returns
The 2007 installment is a tough act to follow, but A+A 2009 looks ready to defend its title Nov. 3-6, 2009, as the world's largest trade show for workplace safety and health.
A+A, the big trade show held in Dusseldorf, Germany, in alternative years, is coming back to that city's fairgrounds Nov. 3-6, just as the U.S. economy seems to be righting itself. A+A 2009, Safety, Security and Health at Work, will feature all types of safety products and topics, along with occupational medicine, first aid, ergonomics, industrial hygiene, vehicle safety equipment and technologies, fire and radiation protection, noise control, healthy office environments, environmental protection, and measurement and control equipment.
A+A typically attracts more than 50,000 attendees. The 2009 staging of the event is expected to exceed 55,000 visitors, with more than 1,400 exhibitors from 50 countries filling more than 500,000 square feet of exhibit space inside Halls 3-7 and 9-10. Hall 7a will be a new "Innovation Park Hazardous Substances," an exhibit of products, concepts, and services focused on safe handling of hazardous materials. Hall 10 will house about 120 non-profit exhibitors (associations, national authorities, etc.).
The event's organizer is Messe Dusseldorf; the North American pavilion is organized by that organization's U.S. subsidiary, Messe Dusseldorf North America. This year's show includes the "A+A Fashion Show," a display of work apparel that from a large number of exhibitors. Visit this page for press releases and news about the event, exhibitors, and the safety and health industry.
A+A 2009 includes the 31st International Congress for Occupational Safety and Health, which will be held at the Congress Centre and is being organized by Germany's Working Committee for Health and Safety at Work (known as Basi for its German acronym) and has the theme "Innovations for Safe and Healthy Companies." About 6,000 visitors are expected to attend it. The International Labour Organization and the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work are presenting a lecture series in conjunction with the congress.
Bruno Zwingmann, Basi's managing director, recently outlined the reforms of German occupational safety that are now taking place. "The basic reform began with the transposition of European occupational safety directives into national law. Today the focus is on establishing modern, effective, and efficient structures, including functioning cooperation between the providers and all other actors with the aim of ensuring service-oriented advice and monitoring of occupational safety standards," he wrote. "On the other hand, largely due to international, mainly European initiatives, for the first time now, a Common German Occupational Safety Strategy [GDA] is being developed and made binding by law. This strategy in turn sees itself as a contribution to active co-determination of a common European strategy on occupational safety. The GDA strives to systematically develop common occupational safety targets and their underpinning with priority fields of action, including evaluation of whether goals have been achieved.
"The National Occupational Safety Conference (Nationale Arbeitsschutzkonferenz) offers a central decision-making body for providers in the field of occupational safety, i.e. for federal and local government, statutory accident insurance funds, and gives a consultative voice to social partners. Here decisions on the planning, coordination and evaluation of the national occupational safety strategy are made. Long term and step by step all actors in the field of occupational safety, health and workplace design are to be involved in the Common German Occupational Safety Strategy."
The German Occupational Safety Prize will be awarded on the opening day of A+A, Nov. 3, and on the second day, a full-day congress event will be devoted to the Common German Occupational Safety Strategy.
Prevention Paramount, Even During an Economic Crisis
More than 100,000 Germans give up work every year for medical reasons, and the country's workers missed a total of 438 million work days because of absence in 2007, Zwingmann wrote.
"Prevention is an investment in the future. Maintaining and promoting the health and productivity of employees is gaining importance in companies, social insurance, and in the political sphere," he noted June 22. "A safe and healthy working environment contributes significantly to the ability of companies to innovate and compete. Numerous corporate examples prove that occupational health and safety measures bring about a drop in staff turnover, increase process and product quality, and improve corporate image.
"Protection and promotion of health are decisive pre-requisites for employee motivation and creativity. Especially in our highly developed national economies, the 'human factor' takes on a key role in the international competition for locational advantage. By means of effective and efficient prevention, people's quality of life, mobility, and productivity can be improved long term, and a large proportion of the extra costs resulting from illness and its consequences can be reduced.
"Occupational safety and health therefore not only benefits employees. The economic potential of prevention is also considerable and has to be much more effectively exploited especially in view of Europe's 'aging' society. The modern occupational safety and health strategy aims to do this as a dynamic discipline incorporated into the corporate processes.
"With its two pillars, the congress and the trade fair, A+A is the main event and world marketplace in this field. Today it can rest on a great, and now increasingly global, awareness towards safety and health risks."