A+A 2015 Off to a Rousing Start

"This is where the world gets together in terms of occupational safety and health," Germany's Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Andrea Nahlers said during her opening keynote

DUSSELDORF-- This 700-year-old city along the Rhine River in western Germany put on its finest welcome for tens of thousands of A+A 2015 participants during the trade fair's opening day Oct. 27. Sunny, picture-perfect fall weather greeted the throngs as they arrived at the sprawling Messe Dusseldorf fairgrounds. They couldn't miss the trees decked in deep red and golden leaves throughout the city, including the towering sycamores lining the popular Konigsallee canal.

"This is where the world gets together in terms of occupational safety and health," German Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Andrea Nahles said during her opening keynote speech for the 34th International Congress for Occupational Safety and Health, held in conjunction with the trade fair Oct. 27-30. Klaus Bornack, president of the A+A 2015 Trade Fair Advisory Board, said this year's A+A is 20 percent larger than the most recent one in 2013, with more than 1,800 exhibitors filling nine halls of the fairgrounds this year.

"If the economy is faring well the trade fairs are doing well. So we're very pleased to see the growth in A+A this year," Bornack said. Korea is the trade fair's partner country this year. Dr. Young Soon Lee, president of the Korea Occupational Safety and Health Agency (KOSHA), said his country has some challenges to meet in order to achieve parity with highly developed nations' occupational safety and health performance, including in terms of ensuring contractors' safety. Korea's occupational safety and health efforts were focused on manufacturing almost entirely in the past, but now they are equally focused on service industries, he said.

Korea's OSH accident rate has plunged by approximately 80 percent since KOSHA was founded in 1987. Korea will help Asian developing countries improve their own workplace safety and health performance, Lee said.

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