Looking Ahead to A+A 2017

Birgit Horn, A+A's director, said it takes the full two years to plan the next trade fair and a team of about 30 employees to prepare for it; during the trade fair itself, about 150 employees are involved, she said during an interview.

DUSSELDORF, Germany -- It's not too early to begin planning to exhibit at A+A 2017 or to attend it. After all, the Messe Dusseldorf A+A team is already planning the Oct. 17-20, 2017, event. Birgit Horn, A+A's director, said it takes the full two years to plan the next trade fair and a team of about 30 employees to prepare for it; during the trade fair itself, about 150 employees are involved, she said during an interview here.

A+A 2015, International Trade Fair with Congress for Safety, Security and Health at Work, takes place Oct. 27-30 in Dusseldorf, Germany. (Messe Dusseldorf North America logo)The planning process brings together all of Messe Dusseldorf's partners and include market research reports to gauge what's happening in various OSH markets around the world. The A+A partner country for 2017 already was selected in May 2015, but Horn would not divulge the choice. So far, Russia, Poland, Turkey, and Korea have been chosen as partner countries. While Messe Dusseldorf has established trade fairs in several of those countries, the partner countries aren't chosen based on which locations would be good sites for new shows, Horn said.

She explained that a partner country has both industry and labor involved in advancing its safety performance, with OSH success strongly supported by the country's political leadership and its safety equipment/product manufacturers. This concept is how A+A itself was developed 60 years ago, Horn said.

Asked which PPE categories showed the most growth in 2015 trade fair exhibitors, Horn said protective clothing, including footwear and corporate fashion, showed strong growth over the previous A+A, and ergonomics and corporate health exhibitors also increased.

One challenge the Messe Dusseldorf team is trying to solve is what Horn and her colleagues described as linking the big trade fair (65,000+ attendees) with the smaller International Congress for Occupational Safety and Health (about 5,000 attendees) taking place on site at the same time. Attendees interested in regulations tend to participate in the Congress, while buyers and users of PPE participate in the trade fair, Horn said. Special shows such as the Oct. 27-28 "Innovative Personal Protective Equipment I and II" sessions that were part of the Congress are one way to bridge theory and practice and link the two halves, and Messe Dusseldorf is trying to offer more of these, they said.

There were Congress sessions presented in English all four days this year, with simultaneous translation of the Congress' opening session from German into English and other languages also available at no charge. The English-language session lineup included presentations on green jobs, fall protection equipment, road safety, the future of prevention, material handling, and globally sustainable textiles.

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